There is little doubt that the conflict currently taking place in Syria has not only the attention of the world, but many Georgians as well. As the world awaits action or inaction from President Obama, Congress and the United States military, citizens and voters from all across Georgia are turning to their local congressmen for answers.
Should the United States intervene in the current Syrian conflict, or should we refrain? This question is important to many Georgians and is especially interesting to dissect within the context of the 2014 midterm elections. If diplomatic means fall apart, how will candidates and politicians react? Will they support action or shy away from the possible political consequences of an unpopular military intervention?
Some congressmen and candidates are already speaking.
Retiring Senator Saxby Chambliss (R) has already weighed in. The Vice Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee has stated that he will support military action in Syria. His colleague, Senator Johnny Isakson (R), said that he would support military action, but now appears opposed, having switched under constituent pressure.
Georgia’s U.S. representatives are in almost complete contrast to Georgia’s senators with six of the 13 representatives, including 2014 Senate candidates Jack Kingston (R), Phil Gingrey (R) and Paul Broun (R) already stating that they would not support military action. The eight remaining U.S. House reps, including the likes of Tom Price (R) and John Lewis (D), have yet to officially announce any decision; however, the longer they hold out their decision, the more likely they will not support any action in Syria.
What about the rest of the 2014 Senate field to replace Saxby? Former Secretary of State Karen Handel released a statement saying she would not support military action. However, Michelle Nunn, a Democrat, has stated that she would support military action.
It is interesting to see the contrast, with the exception of Nunn, between the 2014 candidates and current Senate incumbents. With Chambliss retiring after his term ends in 2014 and Isakson rumored to be thinking about doing the same after his term expires in 2016, both men, unlike the candidates running for office in 2014, have no reason to worry about popular opinion at the ballot box — they may take stands according to conscience.
THE EDITORS: Nunn except Michelle support intervention.
It does not take vast political knowledge to see why the candidates have all chosen to go against military action. Supporting what could be the most unpopular military expedition in twenty years is not something a candidate would like on his record when voters enter the voting booth — although that does not appear to have phased Michelle Nunn. It is not clear why she supports military action, especially since none of her Democratic colleagues in Georgia have said they would do the same. She might be doing it simply to distance herself from the Republican pack, but I cannot see how this would help her very much in a state like Georgia.
Whatever President Obama, Congress and Georgians decide to do, there is no doubt that their decisions will have a great impact on the 2014 midterm elections. One thing is for certain: whatever happens, candidates must ensure they are on the right side of voters or they could be on outs after Election Day.
—Russell Dye is a junior studying political science.