Have to give one of these to Dan Drezner, for celebrating the craven self-interest displayed by politicians in the Syria matter:
Look, this isn't rocket science: the opposition party will always be more skeptical of administration policy. Throw in a nation that's pretty sick of war and pretty hostile to taking action in Syria and this is a no-brainer position to adopt for most Republicans. This is particularly true since I suspect enough Republicans will join with most Democrats to give the administration the necessary authorization.Key point -- and one of my favorites -- is that for politicians, trying to do the right thing is highly overrated, if doing the right thing means trying to understand the policy the way that a scholar might, and choosing the best option in that sense. If we wanted a system that put the experts in charge, we could easily do so. But part of the reason for a democracy (as I argued over at the Prospect last week) is a bet that it actually generates better policy outcomes than simply turning things over to the experts would yield. That happens (if it does) when politicians use their strengths: chiefly, their skill at sniffing out the political advantages and disadvantages of a position.
Old foreign policy hands will likely cluck a bit and disparage the shifting ideologies of GOP members of Congress in the name of political self-interest. To which I say: hooray for political self-interest!! It's not like the status quo in GOP foreign policy thinking had been serving them all that well over the past few years. This isn't to say that I agree with the GOP on this issue, but for once, the American political system appears to be working as intended.
Anyway: nice catch!