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. Stacie

    A Ron Paul vs Sarah Palin slugfest would be such a wonderful gift to the Democrats and President Obama! Please, pretty please!!!!!

    July 8, 2010 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  2. CHUCK

    The Tea Party is a group of angry white voters who should have been more active during the last administration. I would ask them: Why form up now? Where were you guys when President Bush was turning a budget surplus into a hugh deficit. Where are the minorities? All these lingering questions are the reason the Tea Party has no creditability.

    July 8, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  3. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Soon we will see the tea partiers either split between the GOP and Libertarians (which is what they should do) or we will see mulitple people running as Republicans calling each other names and losing to the Democrats.

    July 8, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  4. Walter

    "Quick we need to focus our political ticker on Sarah Palin again. That way people might not focus on the debacle Obama and the Democrats have perpetrated on the American Public." Talk about rifts in the Tea Party, the Republican Party, or a child's birthday party; the bottom line is that the economy stinks, the left has done nothing in the over 3 years they've controlled Congress, and come November it's all over for them.

    July 8, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  5. Charlie in Maine

    Now now tea partiers don't spend time attacking each other when you have the Republican party to bring down. Good luck with that!

    July 8, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  6. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Cutting the defense budget is way overdue. We have bases in some countries that we have no national interest in. We have weapons that are useless and that we'll never use. I live a few minutes away from Norfolk and they use to test that uselss Raptor fighter jet here. There is extraordinary waste in the defense budget.

    July 8, 2010 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  7. Four and The Door

    Ron Paul has some great ideas, but I certainly agree more with Sarah Palin on military funding. Nobody enjoys war for sure, but unfortunately it is a world in which countries need to be able to defend themselves. It's not a choice we really have. But Sarah Palin has a much larger following and strong base of support. She hasn't even officially started her 2012 campaign yet and I believe she has a stronger following now than Obama himself.

    July 8, 2010 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  8. FRANK - LAS VEGAS

    Half Gov. Palin just repeats old talking points from the GOP and doesn't understand any of them. Her complete lack knowledge on any number of subjects shows up every time she opens her mouth. Old talking points and finding the lowest common denominator is all that she knows and the simple minded find her interesting and believe what she says because that's much easier than doing a little research to find the truth.

    Vote NO in NOvember to the party of NO.

    July 8, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  9. Tim - Wilmington, DE

    No one should ever listen to Palin for advice on anything, ever. Not even how to properly prepare your mooseburger. She's a moron, a quitter, an utter failure in everything she does, and she prances all over the country gleefully wallowing in her own stupidity. Paul's definitely a loon, but he's right on about this. We can't keep chucking money into a useless war that is impossible to win and will literally never end. Support our troops by giving them a good policy; what we're engaged in now is anything but.

    July 8, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  10. Robin

    Palin needs to get a brain!

    July 8, 2010 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  11. Alan

    I might not agree with Ron Paul on everything, but I truly admire the man. He's willing to stick with the issues he feels are important, even when they prove unpopular. I may not think he's always right, but he's certainly shown me his honesty.

    You can't say that about most politicians on either side.

    July 8, 2010 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  12. 8 years of the Bush Error = How many years of recession and unemployment?

    And Missy the Moron, gained more experience than Gates because for her short time as a part time governor, she shuffled Coast Guard troops to fight forest fires?

    July 8, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  13. Ferret out the BS

    Ms. Palin is just a rehash of Bush/Chaney with ideological concepts that just plain don't work and don't even make sense. Mr Paul at least seems to understand that you can't support a large standing military and conduct wars without paying for it.

    But the 800lb Gorilla right now is that if we change direction too soon in the current plan to resolve our economic crisis, especially in the face of improving economic conditions, will it help or will it throw us into economic depression? Both Paul and Palin have their solutions and I trust neither to be the right one for the time.

    July 8, 2010 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  14. anagram_kid

    For those who want to spend all this money on the military, I wonder if when you are dying from heart disease, cancer or cerebrovascular diseases you will say thank goodness we spent all that money on the military so that I am not dying as the result of a terrorist attack.

    Just think of the possibilities if we spent that same money on medical research, education or our own infrastructure.

    July 8, 2010 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  15. TOTUS 4 PRESIDENT

    CNN obsessing on Palin 24/7 again.

    But where are the stories about our environmental preachers like Leonardo DiCaprio, whose private jet in South Africa this week caused hundreds of "small people" to miss the semi-final match between Spain and Germany because he took up commercial aircraft landing slots at the Cape Town airport!!

    Won't hear anything about that from the MSM. But anything Palin is grist for the CNN mill...

    July 8, 2010 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  16. Travis

    Why is CNN still allowing this woman (Palin) to have a voice through their media outlet?

    July 8, 2010 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  17. Rob in MO

    The Pauls have something right. We spend way too much on the military; many billions are wasted. It is a direct funnel from taxpayers to multimillionaire corporate executives. We could cut the waste, spend half as much and get the same security.

    July 8, 2010 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  18. Mary

    I agree with the Tea Partiers on many issues, especially their "alleged" support of the Constitution, which most politicians swear to uphold with their mouths but trash with their actions. However, I do not identify with the Tea Partiers because they were silent while Bush and Cheney were in office, which makes me question their sincerity, their motives, and their partisanship.

    I suppose we never would have heard of the Tea Party movement had McCain been elected President.

    July 8, 2010 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  19. Debbie

    This is what the GOP and Tea Party Side Kick have been reduced to?

    1. Who can see Russia from her house.

    2. The other wants to leave Afganistan to save money and not keep the promise to the 9/11 widows and orphans.

    I think they are both dangerous!

    July 8, 2010 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  20. Texas-Lousianna-Mississippi-Alabama = Red states turning Black with oil

    Wonder if Rand Paul agrees with his father or with the "Queen of the Grifters"?

    July 8, 2010 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  21. Victim of GOP Taliban

    STOP hyping Palin already! She is reading from a script and is coached.
    Ron Paul is a real person with his own ideas. Palin doesn't have a clue.

    July 8, 2010 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  22. Dave

    This is because Palin jumped on the Tea Party bandwagon bringing her neo-con views along with her. SHE IS A NEO-CON!!! And these neo-cons are attempting to hijack this movement and put their talking points into a movement they want votes from when they are so far off from the ideology. She is not to be believed or trusted. No neo-con can be.

    July 8, 2010 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  23. Elizabeth

    That Palin creature with HER BLANK EYES(nothing behind them) is a disgrace to humanity.

    July 8, 2010 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  24. FOXswallow

    There is only one brain between the two of them and it sure doesn't belong to the female in this case.

    July 8, 2010 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  25. Cuso

    Ok so what the tea party really comes down to is only cut spending on things they don't like.

    July 8, 2010 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
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