The Left/Right Antiwar Alliance in Congress

A coalition coalesces.


If you want to see a left/right coalition for civil liberties and against an interventionist foreign policy—and if you're a regular reader of Reason, there's a good chance that you do—then this Washington Post piece by Greg Sargent should warm your heart. An excerpt:

Dem Rep. Alan Grayson, a leader of the anti-war wing of the House Democratic caucus, tells TPM's Dylan Scott he is organizing across the aisle to create such an alliance by gearing up an "ad hoc whip organization." This sort of right-left alliance is often discussed but rarely materializes. But this time there could be something to it….[E]ven though it's early in the whipping process on Syria, we're already seeing substantial numbers of Members who voted to end NSA surveillance now coming out or leaning against action in Syria.

Most of these lawmakers fall into two camps. On the Republican side, they are Tea Partyers of the non-hackish variety—Tea Partyers who buck the neocon line on intervention abroad and whose support for limited government translates into real concern for civil liberties, at least in some areas. These are Republicans you might find in the Liberty Caucus. On the Democratic side, you have lawmakers who are more anti-war than liberal internationalist, and care about privacy issues—not because of an embrace of limited government, but because they embrace civil liberties from the left. They are willing to ally with these Republicans because their anti-war views mesh to some degree with the former group's anti-interventionist streak; and because there is some civil libertarian overlap.

In both cases—on Syria, and on the amendment to end NSA surveillance—this loose alliance of lawmakers is allied against the leadership of their own parties. And in both cases, they represent a genuine threat to the outcome.