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By Michael Fagans / The Californian
By MCCLATCHY WASHINGTON BUREAU
House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield has been on the fence regarding questions of whether he would support a military strike against Syria.
But on Tuesday, the local Republican broke from GOP House leaders by telling colleagues he opposed using military force.
"He does not believe the president has made an adequate case to (the) American people as far as what the strategy is and what the attainable goals are," an informed source, who was in the room when McCarthy spoke to the Republican caucus, said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly.
McCarthy's view aligns him with a majority of House Republicans. It separates him, though, from House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., both of whom previously announced their support for military authorization.
McCarthy's opposition also underscores how Syria has turned the customary hawk-versus-dove political categories upside down and made unusual alliances the order of the day.
A McClatchy review of California House members found that twice as many say they are opposed or inclined to oppose military action, compared to those who support or lean toward supporting military action. While many members of the state delegation remain undecided, those who've gone public have often upended conventional ideological wisdom.
Amid the fast pace of developments this week, including the possibility of a Russian-mediated diplomatic solution, the prospect for any congressional vote remained uncertain.
On Wednesday, citing the new developments from a Russian proposal that Syria turn over its chemical weapons stockpile, the Senate postponed a planned test vote. Administration officials still insist that a congressional vote should proceed, to provide continued pressure.