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. karen from Charlottesville

    Ron Paul is willing to work across the nasty divide to help solve our woes, while Palin just want to enhance that divide. Paul is a smart guy – I have a lot of respect for him. I think he represents a lot of thinking people in this country who may still have a lingering hope that the right will actually field some decent, intelligent candidates instead of wacko Palin wannabes.

    July 8, 2010 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  2. Don

    Will the real tea party phonies please stand up? Ron Paul is way too mainstream fo rthese folks.

    July 8, 2010 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  3. hillcrester

    Sarah who??? I love it. My hallway has a "Face of the Republican't Party" poster featuring Palin, Steele, and Boehner.

    July 8, 2010 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  4. Mare47

    When are people going to stop watching this twit? She will never be President of the U.S. She was an extremely poor choice for VP when there were other talented Republican women to choose from. That's what cost McCain the presidency in the 1st place. The Republican party is a train wreck!

    July 8, 2010 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  5. Robert J

    Thank GOD that hopefully neither one of these morons will ever have any position of authority to press such or any issue for that matter. I think these two people have "trainers" (not managers) who work 24 hrs a day doing nothing but figuring out hwo to get these boneheads in the news. Anyone can have an idea. It's whatbehind the idea that counts and that takes brains-the missing ingredient here!

    July 8, 2010 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  6. GL

    Sara Palin is the democratic dream ticket for 2012. Please keep her in the news so we can continue to laugh at this right wing nut.

    July 8, 2010 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  7. Kercheck

    Bush increased the national debt by what 5 trillion given to special interest groups is a spending machine with no benifit.

    Who is Palins speach writer?

    Palin for president, that is a joke.

    July 8, 2010 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  8. harold

    Palin is closer to Russia so is afraid of invasion?..Paul and Barrney having Tea.. as in T party?..Wonder when the T party will ever have any solutions to anything..?... Small government with two Wars going on seems to be strange.. Along with our climbing out of the Republican Great Recession?..So the solution is really small government? And Republicans ...keep on voting NO to everything from the feared Health Insurance.....to anything else to help the people of the USA??

    July 8, 2010 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  9. Fred

    Just goes to show you that that the Tea Party Movement has a BIG TENT when these folks can have such a big disagreement and the movement doesn't immediately fall apart. Great analysis CNN........that's why your still number one with me !

    July 8, 2010 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  10. Lynda/Minnesota

    How weary I am of Palin and her Facebook following. Mama Grizzlies . . . Pink Elephants . . . word salad nonsense.

    So many millions of women in America face real challenges . . . real danger . . . real hurt. These are not the women whom Palin represents with her adolescent screeching. The women Palin represent are nothing more than puppeteers for the GOP. Not one of Palin's supporters have yet displayed the intelligence to differentiate between GOPer greed and true compassion.

    How weary I am of GOP mockery and disdain.

    Be afraid GOPers. Palin may very well be your next presidential candidate. If she has proven anything these past two years, she's proven she's in for the long haul.

    July 8, 2010 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  11. Fair is Fair

    "There is extraordinary waste in the defense budget."

    I remember Jimmy Carter saying the same thing. Then he sent in 7 helicopters in to try to rescue the Iran hostages and they couldn't even get off the ground.

    Jimmy Obama will probably follow in his footsteps.

    July 8, 2010 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  12. John

    If the Republican party wants lose in 2012 than you let Sarah Palin lead their party. I'm even tried of hearing about her,beside that she don't know anything and she a quit in the middle of a job get too tough.the Democrats should win easy.

    July 8, 2010 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  13. Dennis

    I say if it is that important to her, then hand her an M-16 and send her off to war. I am tired of self-serving politicians sending others loved ones off to war when they are not willing to do it themselves.

    Strong military equals keeping their pockets lined.

    July 8, 2010 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  14. DRILL BABY DRILL --> CRY BABY CRY

    Interesting – genius meets trash talking eye winking senseless babbling smiling while lying 6 year college going queen of stupidity...

    July 8, 2010 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  15. SunnyD

    While Ron Paul can be out of his mind (according to me) on several sides of the way our country is run I have to give him credit for at least trying to work with others to make something better. Somemthing, anything he can improve...I have to respect the man for that.

    The US spends 686billion dollars a year, has over 450 military bases worldwide (including in countries that are unneccessary). We have 11 nuclear air craft carriers, the rest of the world combined has ZERO. We can put TWICE as many aircraft to sea than the rest of the world COMBINED. So many countries in Europe are able to have defense budgets that are a fraction of our becuase we sre in their region (their back yards) covering their butts (these are facts). Time to pull back and only be where we HAVE to, or where it is truly vital. Biden was right, black OPs and predator drones is the way to go. Our technology is so far ahead of the rest that is is highly effective both in function and in cost. We should spend money on military technology and the future but there are many places to cut and it will no make us less safe. Actually if you think about it fewer Americans (service men and women) will be lost so maybe better at this point.

    BTW, team party...JOKE

    July 8, 2010 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  16. Rob Johnson

    One of the few things I agree with Ron Paul on is his support for drastically cutting the Defense budget.

    One of these days, so-called "small government conservatives" like Sarah Palin are going to figure out that the military is, in fact, part of the government.

    Cutting government spending without cutting military spending is just ignoring the elephant in the room. Want to get serious about cutting deficits and spending? Cut military spending. Period.

    July 8, 2010 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  17. ahetch

    What has happened to the Republican party. I can't believe that people take these two individuals seriously. Neither one has a bit of common sense.

    July 8, 2010 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  18. DRILL BABY DRILL --> CRY BABY CRY

    Interesting – Genius meets trash talking senseless babbling 6 year college going smiling while lying queen of stupidity...

    July 8, 2010 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  19. Ballz

    I wish someone would dig up a topless picture of her already...i know its out there

    July 8, 2010 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  20. A Guy

    Ron Paul is Rand Paul's father. Do we really need to know anything else about him?

    Palin is an intellectual midget, so she fits right in with the TeaWhacko crowd

    July 8, 2010 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  21. John

    An imaginary moose lives in Palin's pocket and gives her advice on foreign policy...

    July 8, 2010 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  22. Republicans is smart in the head area

    They're both tools.

    July 8, 2010 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  23. kimberly

    HAHA! LOVE the right and their kooks! They make my morning coffee and bagel so much more enjoyable. I come on see Palin is still acting as if she has a chance at being anything more than a JOKE!

    July 8, 2010 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  24. USA401

    Best chance at becoming president: Ron Paul hands down.

    July 8, 2010 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  25. Conrad

    Basic Conservative thinking:
    We must deregulate all industry! The government needs to keep it's policy off of our economy!
    *Years later*
    Oh no! The economy collapsed! Why isn't the government fixing this!?

    See the contradiction?

    July 8, 2010 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
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