July 8th, 2010
11:05 AM ET
4 years ago

Palin, Paul expose rift in Tea Party

 Palin and Paul, two celebrities of the tea party movement, differ markedly on military spending.
Palin and Paul, two celebrities of the tea party movement, differ markedly on military spending.

(CNN) – Sarah Palin and Ron Paul are two darlings of the Tea Party movement, but their views on military spending could hardly be more different.

Palin, the former Republican vice presidential nominee, invokes the importance of a strong and robust military in speech after speech, while Paul, the libertarian Republican who rocketed to the national scene during the 2008 presidential race, has long argued for drastic cuts in defense spending.

It's a schism that has long existed within the GOP's fold – between hawkish conservatives and spend-weary Republicans – but one which the Tea Party movement's diverse coalition and varied figure heads have specifically laid bare over the past year.

The division is especially apparent this week as Paul, whom many in the Tea Party movement hope mounts another bid for president, is teaming up with Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank, a Democrat, to call for substantial cuts in U.S. military spending.

Paul and Frank are calling for the removal of troops from Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as former war zones in Germany, Japan, and South Korea. The two congressmen say if that is done, $1 trillion in U.S. tax-payer money will be saved over the next 10 years.

"I think it is a great idea, because that is what I have been arguing for a long time," Paul told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on The Situation Room Wednesday. "And I'm always looking for an opportunity to bring progressive Democrats together with some conservative libertarian types, because there are places where we can agree. And I think this is a very important place to start."

In the same interview, Paul specifically targeted the war in Afghanistan – widely supported in the Republican Party – saying it "makes no sense whatsoever" and is "not in the interest of our national security."

"Even our CIA now says there are very few if any al Qaeda in Afghanistan," said Paul. "They've chased them all over to Pakistan. Where are you going to chase them to? Take over Pakistan? Then Yemen and then Somalia? We just don't need to be the world's policeman. I think we are digging a hole for ourselves."

But at the same time Paul reiterates his across-the-board fiscal conservatism, Palin is making moves to ensure the Tea Party does not articulate an agenda that includes advocating for military spending cuts, even as the movement's larger agenda is focused on reigning in government spending.

In a speech before a conservative gathering in Virginia late last month, Palin stressed that while the "Obama-Reid-Pelosi spending machine" must be tempered, spending on the military should remain strong.

"We must make sure that we do nothing to undermine the effectiveness of our military. If we lose wars, if we lose the ability to deter adversaries, if we lose the ability to provide security for ourselves and for our allies, we risk losing all that makes America great. That is a price we cannot afford to pay," she said at the event, according to the Washington Post.

In the same speech, Palin took aim at Defense Secretary Robert Gates who has suggested spending cuts.

"Secretary Gates recently spoke about the future of the U.S. Navy. He said we have to ask whether the nation can really afford a Navy that relies on $3 [billion] to $6 billion destroyers, $7 billion submarines and $11 billion carrier…well, my answer is pretty simple: Yes, we can and yes, we do, because we must," she said.

Perhaps the ultimate question is whether Paul and Palin can remain amongst the Tea Party movement's most prominent leaders while articulating such opposite philosophies.


Filed under: Popular Posts • Ron Paul • Sarah Palin • Tea Party movement
soundoff (113 Responses)
  1. Brandon

    I voted for Ron Paul in the last primary. There's no way I'd vote for Palin, even if Satan was running against her. I can't believe any intelligent electorate voted her into an office...absolutely ludicrous.

    As far as military spending as a subject - the right option is probably somewhere in the middle of the two viewpoints.

    July 8, 2010 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  2. Independent In NY

    Ron Paul: The epitome of conservatism

    Sarah Palin: Divisive wack job, cost John McCain the best shot he ever had at becoming president

    July 8, 2010 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  3. Chas in Iowa

    A rift between Palin and Paul,....say it isn't so!

    This is about as news worthy as the rift between Ralph Nader and Pat Paulson from a previous election.

    Neither of these supposed GOP candidates have any chance in an actual election but boy can they pour out the GOP montra. Only problem is the GOP finally realised the standard GOP montra no longer sells!

    July 8, 2010 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  4. Mike in SA

    Stupid to the extreme when you talk about cutting the military (unless you are specifically targeting the redundant systems that even the DOD doesn't want or need) while there is an Army of millions out there with one thought on their mind...the total destruction of the US.

    July 8, 2010 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  5. MH

    Please CNN – NO MORE PALIN! Who cares what she says or thinks? Please quit reporting on her – it's a waste of space.

    July 8, 2010 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  6. GOP = "I hope he fails"

    OH NO Trouble in Paradise!!

    The tea party truth emerges. Extreme right-wing cultural conservatives who thought the Tea Party was an ideological cleansing of the Republican Party, marching along side anti-social issues, small-government, libertarians who thought the Tea Party was an emergence of American Libertarianism.

    On several issues the Tea Partiers disagree with one another more than they do with Obama.

    July 8, 2010 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  7. Bubba

    Neither one of these loudmouths is electable, and their nutty ideas would be disastrous if put into effect. Let them help divide the already cracking republicants into smaller and smaller groups until they just vanish.

    July 8, 2010 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  8. js007

    Palin is simply an empty vessel that parrots whatever the talking points of the day are, or whatever the GOP donors (e.g. big oil, defence industry, health incurance companies) tell her to say. Ron Paul, while wrong on some points, is at least an intelligent and educated man (although his son does not make him look very good).

    July 8, 2010 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  9. Darren

    What does Sarah Palin really know about anything? Really!

    We're listening to your Mr. Paul. Bringing "progressive Democrats together with some conservative libertarian types" may just be the only future for this country.

    That mix seems to have something almost unheard of in politics these days: "common sense".

    July 8, 2010 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  10. PURDY

    Barney Frank (born March 31, 1940) is the United States House Representative for Massachusetts's 4th congressional district since 1981. He is a member of the Democratic Party.

    July 8, 2010 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  11. Not All Docs Play Golf

    Carly Fiorina received $21 million in severance pay when she was fired for performance failure as CEO of Hewlett Packard in 2005. She received an additional $21 million when Hewlett Packard's board bought out her company stock options and pension benefits. Her compensation package sparked a lawsuit from shareholders. McCain defended her pay for failure. That's who the Republican party is. They are the true "free cheese" party, the "lower-my-taxes" party of Reaganomics, and the party of Wall Street. Paul and Palin are Repubs no matter what kind of lipstick they put on it.

    July 8, 2010 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  12. Brian - Seattle

    It's because Sarah Palin doesn't know how to make an argument that isn't completely built out of sound bites.

    In short, she has no idea what she's talking about.

    July 8, 2010 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  13. Mike in America

    'King of the Hill'
    Does anyone remember that game? Whoever is on top is the one to knock off.
    The party is a coalition of U.S Citizens that demand that their representatives protect their liberties, rights, and the sovereignty of our nation, state, communities, and citizens.
    The political parties and organizations of National and International influence are working to consolidate the identity of the movement behind a face or tag that can be bolstered or maligned.
    The movement is American and as such should not have and does not want a 'King' to lead it. It is by the people and for the people.

    July 8, 2010 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
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