Politico's Mike Allen on the Syria vote:
... White House officials are embarking on a massive, member-by-member lobbying surge. "The strategy will be to flood the zone," a White House official told Playbook....Is that going to persuade Republicans, particularly the crazier Republicans? I have serious doubts.
The White House official said: "In all calls and briefings, we will be making the same fundamental case: The failure to take action against Assad unravels the deterrent impact of the international norm against chemical weapons use, and it risks emboldening Assad and his key allies -- Hezbollah and Iran -- who will see that there are no consequences for such a flagrant violation of an international norm. Anyone who is concerned about Iran and its efforts in the region should support this action."
For all their moralism, I'm not sure American right-wingers actually believe in enforcing behavioral "norms." American right-wingers don't really seem to believe in bad deeds -- deeds that are bad no matter who does them. American right-wingers believe in bad people -- people who deserve severe punishment. Other people don't deserve severe punishment no matter what they do.
Remember torture? I'm sure right-wingers thought it was a bad thing at the beginning of the last decade. Then the Bush administration engaged in torture -- and it turned out that that was OK, because George W. Bush was a good man. We were torturing evildoers. They were bad.
GOP senator David Vitter got into a prostitution scandal, but that was fine, because he's a good, God-fearing Christian. By contrast, Anthony Weiner and Eliot Spitzer should be banned from public office for life, and Bill Clinton deserved impeachment.
And, of course, in the 1980s Iraq under Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons against Iran, and against Iraqi Kurds. That was fine, because Iraq's mortal enemy was our mortal enemy, Iran. (Iran, of course, had previously been deemed less evil when the U.S. decided that dealing with Iran was useful, in order to do harm to another of our mortal enemies, Nicaragua's Sandinista government.) Subsequently, of course, when Iraq became the U.S.'s mortal enemy, its use of chemical weapons was a pretext for an American invasion ("He gassed his own people!")
So, to the right, behavioral "norms" are, well, relative.
Yes, non-Paulite right-wingers will agree that we should deter Iran -- but the point isn't whether Iran is considering the use of nuclear weapons, the point is that Iran is evil. Iran should be deterred (or attacked, or bombed back to the Stone Age) because Iran is an evil country. It's not about behavior -- it's about whether one is saved or damned. Iran is damned.
And Bashir Assad isn't, at least not now, presumably because, according to the right, the anti-government rebels aren't on the side of everything that's good and holy.
That's how the right decides these things. And the White House talking points don't take that into account.