New York Times reporter Jennifer Steinhauer showed her labeling slant in Wednesday’s “news analysis” on how the war in Libya is tearing apart the Republican Party, “U.S. Mission Exposes Divisions in Congress and Within G.O.P.,” finding “conservatives” and “right-of-center” pols, but failing to identify the ultra-liberal Rep. Dennis Kucinich as a liberal. The strongest word Steinhauer could find for Kucinich was “anti-war.”
In the past Steinhauer has singled out Republican politicians as ideologically extreme, citing Rep. Allen West for his “hard-right stands” and overdosing on the “conservative” label. She wrote on Wednesday:
It is a familiar pattern in a government of checks and balances: members of Congress almost instinctively criticize the foreign adventures of a president from the opposite party.
But the current imbroglio in Congress over the American involvement in Libya exposes a deep and unusual foreign policy schism within the Republican Party, driven in large part by a Tea Party-infused House whose members are more fiscally conservative, particularly constitutionalist, less internationalist and, in many cases, too young to have been politically influenced by the cold war that informed the more established members of the party.
The divisions came to the fore on Tuesday when Senator John McCain, an Arizona Republican, introduced a measure with Senator John Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat, to offer President Obama official Congressional authorization for the Libyan operation.
House members of both parties and various political stripes seemed undaunted. Representative Dennis J. Kucinich, a Democrat of Ohio, will offer an amendment to a Pentagon spending bill to deny money for operations in Libya, as will Representative Justin Amash of Michigan, a Republican freshman.
The intransigence among House Republicans -- scores of whom voted for a measure earlier this month, also offered by Mr. Kucinich, ordering a United States withdrawal from Libya -- is enraging many conservatives in the Senate and beyond.
“Tea Party critics of America’s current military operations should look at how well served Congressional Republicans were in the 1990s by opposing intervention in the Balkans,” said Daniel Senor, a former Bush administration official and one of 37 conservatives to sign a letter to Congress on Monday urging members not to cut financing for the Libya operation.
But the disagreements over Libya have made for some odd bedfellows, including antiwar lawmakers like Mr. Kucinich and right-of-center representatives, as well as strong Democratic supporters of the president alongside Republican hawks.