The folks over at the Council for a Livable world do a good job of tracking national security votes in Congress. Their tallies show just how much the ground has shifted on Capitol Hill as well.
On April 5, nine Senate Republicans joined Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul in an effort to curb the White House’s authority to wage war unilaterally in lieu of an “imminent threat to the nation.”
In a May 26 shocker, 26 House Republicans joined 178 Democrats and fell just short of passing an amendment in support of a plan to accelerate the withdrawal from Afghanistan.
On the same day, 16 Republicans joined 107 Democrats in a failed vote to get U.S. troops out of Afghanistan now, except for small counter-terrorism operations.
On May 26, 233 House Republicans joined 183 Democrats to approve an amendment that bars President Obama from deploying ground troops to Libya.
Imagine these kinds of votes in 2002, or for that matter, in 2007. Wouldn’t have happened.
Much of this can be chalked up to the confluence of a Democratic President, shifts in public opinion and the type of new GOP members elected in 2010. But there are some notable exceptions to this trend. The Republican freshman who probably best encapsulates the party’s hopes and ambitions — he’s been a favorite for the 2012 vice presidential nomination pretty much since election day — is a hawk in the Kristol-ian sense. Often mischaracterized as straight Tea Party, here’s Marco Rubio sticking up for foreign aid, populist fiscal conservatives’ softest target.