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. Frank

    This is simply more junk that CNN likes to call news.

    July 8, 2010 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  2. Big Ed

    And this is a surpise?

    July 8, 2010 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  3. Rani McBride

    Sarah Palin says Mom's have had enough? Well I am a Mom and I have had enough of her and the Tea Party!!! They may find that people ARE awakening, and it will be in November and it will be Obama supporters ......against RADICAL AMERICA!!!!!

    July 8, 2010 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  4. JDO4

    I'll tell you why her answer is very simple....she's a simpleton.

    July 8, 2010 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  5. sensible Cape Coral Fl

    This was bound to happen as the Tea Party feeds on negative thinking and thus eats itself – or perhaps drinks itself.

    July 8, 2010 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  6. Mike S., New Orleans

    I love watching the Republican Party self-destruct.

    July 8, 2010 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  7. Sarah, the baby seal basher

    Ike warned us about the swordmakers taking over our government.Texas is a perfect example,between big oil and gas and the swordmakers,they run the state with an iron fist,using a knuckledragging moron as their mouthpiece.

    July 8, 2010 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  8. dave

    The Tea Party is nothing more than the same.... hyped up individuals being spoonfed the same sugar coated false promises with a new layer of red, white, and blue whipped topping. The truth is that they are monkeys to the neo-monarchy... CEOs, radical right power weilders, narcassistic political wannabes. You could be the most corrupt, money grubbing, hate mongering viper on the planet but if you pick up a Bible and an Uncle Sam hate and say the magic words "I stand for the common man, the man that's been overlooked" and say "I hate Washington and I want change!" then people will follow you.... while their (often industry) bosses plan to de-regulate safety and enforce harsher standards on the viper supporting people when the spin factor is put into office.

    Isn't slavery bliss? :)

    July 8, 2010 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  9. Anonymous

    The media needs to call this the Tea Circus it is. There is no rhyme or reason to this movement except for a bunch on older white people to congregate

    July 8, 2010 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  10. glib lib

    republican hipocrisy knows no bounds.

    July 8, 2010 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  11. Pragmatic

    Wow! I didn't know the GOP "allowed" divergent or diverse opinions!! Good to see the discussion ... but wondering if Paul or Palin will win the title "real American" ... according to Rush & Glenn ??

    July 8, 2010 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  12. jacq

    Between the two nether one knows the difference of adding ,subtracting or throwing out numbers

    July 8, 2010 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  13. spinnikerca

    Are you sure that is what the report calls for? Is it a newer report than was being discussed last week or so? Because that didn't go nearly so far, and got $1 T over 10 years. If they cut back all you say there, it would save quite a bit more, I should think. I think you are stating Ron Paul's position, not the committee's position, in their paper.

    July 8, 2010 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  14. AzMom

    Go Ron Paul! I don't agree with him on everything but on this, he is right. Why are we are the main ones paying for this war on terrorism? We need to secure our borders and leave other countries to fend for themselves.

    July 8, 2010 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  15. independent

    A very little bit of arsenic may be good for you.
    A little bit more and you would be dead. A lot more, and all your neighbors would die too.

    A little bit of a libertarianism, tea party-ism, and conservatism works the same way. Listen to them, adjust your point a view accordingly, don't elect them to office. If they are elected, America as we know it will be poisoned.

    July 8, 2010 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  16. Real Patriot

    At least you know where these two stand. Some of the other tea party candidates are switching their positions every time the wind changes direction. You may not agree with Sarah or Ron, but at least they are consistent. Sharron Angle and the like are just scary. Who the heck are they really????

    July 8, 2010 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  17. DIANA

    Maybe they could both run on 2012. Please Sarah run, it would guarantee another four years for Obama.

    July 8, 2010 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  18. No More

    Tired of Recorporatans spending up the national debt under the guise of fiscal conservatism only to place the burden of repayment on the Democrats that follow and have to clean up their messes.

    Reagan/Bush increased deficit spending
    Clinton left us with a surplus
    Bush 2 increased the deficit again
    Obama is left cleaning up their mess

    8 years to make a mess and people complain that in less than 2 year our current President hasn't fixed the problem.

    Enough of these corporate lapdogs and their lies!

    July 8, 2010 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  19. NVa Native

    I agree with Ron Paul on several issues, cutting corporate welfare for the industrial military complex is one of them.
    And wether you agree or not, Paul stands by his convictions.

    Without reservation I can say Palin is an alien butt-clown who needs to be deported back to her native planet of Uranus, before she changes her disfunctional opinion again.

    July 8, 2010 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  20. Rick McDaniel

    Paul is not a Republican. He is a Libertarian. He should be considered a third party candidate, if he runs, and he should not run as a Republican.

    July 8, 2010 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  21. Jeff

    This article is a good example of journalists trying to make news instead of reporting it. There is no "rift in the Tea Party"; there are two conservative politicians, neither of whom is a leader of the Tea Party Movement, who have different views on defense and foreign policy. The Tea Party Movement is fundamentally about taxes and domestic government spending; foreign policy and defense issues are wholly tangential. One might as well say there is a "rift in the Democratic Party" every time one legislator votes off.

    July 8, 2010 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  22. Scott F

    Have you seen the movie " Idiocracy"? My suggestion is that we elect Palin as President, Sharon Angle as VP, Michelle Bachman as Secretary of Education, and Steve King as Pentagon Chief. These people would then rule the US which we would rename Planet Moron in honor of John Boehner and Mitch Mc Connell. The reason this would work is because you could put their combined IQ's in a BB and it would still rattle.

    July 8, 2010 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  23. norma

    Who cares what positions they hold?!?! The tea party thugs only want to know that 1) the person can crack jokes about our current president and 2) the person can use prewritten slogans like "lame stream media", "death panels" and "drill baby drill" (oops, that last one isn't so popular anymore is it).

    July 8, 2010 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  24. S Callahan

    Oh my goodness.....do I see a future campaign poster with the two running together.....Paul for Pres., Palin for Vice Pres......it's possible....the idieology of President Obama and VP Biden are streams apart............what's the difference???

    July 8, 2010 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  25. shawn

    Ummm, anybody who pretends to care about spending and the deficit but refuses to talk about cutting "defense" spending is a liar and a hypocrite. But, hey...that's Sarah Palin for ya! The outrageous and insane amount we spend on "defense" is the number 1 reason this country is broke. Anything else is peanuts in comparison.

    July 8, 2010 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
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