The conservative grass-roots has emerged as perhaps the No. 1 foe of a U.S. military strike to punish Syria for chemical-weapons use there, and the reaction to President Obama’s speech among tea party organizations was sharply negative Tuesday evening.
FreedomWorks chief Matt Kibbe blasted “a confused and contradictory White House strategy” toward Syria.
Kibbe released a statement after the President’s address that echoed the tea parties’ desire for a return to small-government constitutional governance, and less deficit spending,
“If the president is truly interested in U.S. national security interests and his credibility among the international community,” Kibbe wrote, “he would turn his attention towards the nearly $17 trillion in red ink at home – not arbitrary red lines abroad.”
In his speech, Obama laid out the humanitarian reasons for military action, and warned that if chemical weapons are allowed they will one day be used against American troops on the battlefield. But he asked Congress to delay acting on his request for military action, until Russia's bid to have the Syrians relinquish their chemical stockpiles to control by international authorities have a chance to play out.
GOP Sen. Rand Paul responded to the president’s speech by calling upon Americans to “avoid an unnecessary war.”
“I see the vote on whether to go to war in very personal terms,” Paul said. “I will not vote to send my son, or your son, or anyone’s daughter to war, unless a compelling American interest is present.
“I am not convinced that we have a compelling interest in this Syrian civil war,” Paul added.
Tea Party Express leader Amy Kremer told Newsmax that Obama’s speech “did not change my mind at all.” The big problem, she said: Voters can no longer trust their own government.
“I believe him on this as much as I believe Benghazi was caused by a video,” she remarked pointedly.
Kremer added she found the context of the speech offensive.
“It is appalling to me that this man stands up there and gives us a campaign speech to get us to buy into this on the eve of 9/11,” she said. “And he did not mention either 9/11 or Benghazi.
“What the hell were the four Americans who lost their lives in Benghazi? That was American interests. And what have they done about it? They’ve lied about it,” she said.
But Kremer says the anti-war fervor is so strong that even if a tea party member were president, the nation would still oppose the war.
“I think that Americans in general are tired of this,” Kremer said. “I’m not an isolationist, but we can’t be the military police of the world, and we cannot be nation building. Our own nation is crumbling right now with $17 trillion in debt.”
Insider/Advantage pollster Matt Towery reinforced that sentiment. He told Newsmax that while Obama served up a good speech Tuesday night, it comes “too little, too late.”
He said moderate voters worry that U.S. military action in Syria could lead to a terrorist attack on the homeland at some point in the future.
“I’ve looked at polling … this is a dead issue unless Syria does something to aggravate the situation,” Towery said. “People just don’t have the will for this… The speech was not anything that will move anyone off the dime, and quite frankly it was a waste of time.”
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