One House Republican Moves From "Do Something" to "Eh, Maybe Not" on Syria

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Sept. 5 2013 4:15 PM

One House Republican Moves From "Do Something" to "Eh, Maybe Not" on Syria

Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-Ill., isn't so sure about this whole Syria intervention thing anymore.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Illinois Rep. Randy Hultgren represents some of Chicago's southwest surbubs, a generally conservative area that, for decades, sent Dennis Hastert to Congress. On Aug. 29, he was one of more than a hundred Republicans demanding that the president clear any action on Syria with the Congress.

The horrific conflict in Syria only gets worse as more and more lives are lost, but that does not give the President authority to ignore our Constitution in matters of military engagement. The Constitution is definitive when it comes to engaging U.S. military forces and we expect that the president would seek congressional authorization prior to committing U.S. military assets. We are ready to come back to Washington to deal with this issue head-on, carefully consider our options and, if necessary, act.

Today, following a briefing, Hultgren said this.

The President’s case and the facts presented failed to make a compelling case for why it is in the national interest of the United States to engage our military in Syria. This is a tragedy that the international community must be fully engaged in, and we must pursue all options to determine what other actions can be taken to stop the bloodshed and pursue peace. But we cannot commit our military forces when there seems to be no clear objective or path to ending our involvement. History shows that there is no such thing as a limited or surgical strike – that every action will be met with a reaction. In this instance, I am concerned that military strikes could result in many unforeseen consequences.

Not quite "no," but more of a "no" than he was hinting at before. And he's a conservative in a safe seat.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 



More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

What Charles Barkley Gets Wrong About Corporal Punishment and Black Culture

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

The Best Way to Organize Your Fridge


The GOP’s Focus on Fake Problems

Why candidates like Scott Walker are building campaigns on drug tests for the poor and voter ID laws.

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

Is It Worth Paying Full Price for the iPhone 6 to Keep Your Unlimited Data Plan? We Crunch the Numbers.

Farewell! Emily Bazelon on What She Will Miss About Slate.

  News & Politics
Sept. 16 2014 7:03 PM Kansas Secretary of State Loses Battle to Protect Senator From Tough Race
Sept. 16 2014 4:16 PM The iPhone 6 Marks a Fresh Chance for Wireless Carriers to Kill Your Unlimited Data
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 8:43 PM This 17-Minute Tribute to David Fincher Is the Perfect Preparation for Gone Girl
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 6:40 PM This iPhone 6 Feature Will Change Weather Forecasting
  Health & Science
Sept. 16 2014 4:09 PM It’s All Connected What links creativity, conspiracy theories, and delusions? A phenomenon called apophenia.
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.