The Iraq Hangover, the "War-Weary" Cliche, and the Republican Dilemma

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Sept. 5 2013 9:43 AM

The Iraq Hangover, the "War-Weary" Cliche, and the Republican Dilemma

My latest story comes from yesterday's House hearing on the Syria situation (no resolution in front of them, yet), which gave us our best comprehensive view of how the GOP circa 2013 thinks about foreign policy. Quelle surprise: House Republicans are now citing the example of Iraq, which only 75 or so of them were around to vote on, to explain why the United States needs a plan to make sure the U.S. doesn't bumble around and empower terrorists while getting involved in a land war.

I talked to former Rep. Tom Davis for the story; he retired in 2008 after a tough few years for the party. One more point from him: "You have to ask: If the president is pushing on this, what does it do on the debt ceiling and immigration?" said Davis. "It makes it harder to come back on and take more tough votes with the base. Republicans will catch a lot of heat from their base for this vote, if they take it."

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. You can reach him at daveweigel@gmail.com, or tweet at him @daveweigel.