Abbreviated pundit round-up: GOP optimists vs. pessimists; can U.S. forces in Syria matter?

E.J. Dionne Jr. at The Washington Post writes—The real GOP divide:

Maybe our definition of the Republican presidential contest is a little off.
It’s often cast, accurately enough, as a choice between “outsiders” and “insiders.” But another party division may be more profound — between Republicans who still view the country’s future hopefully and those deeply gloomy about its prospects.

The pessimism within significant sectors of the GOP is more than the unhappiness partisans typically feel when the other side is in power. It’s rooted in a belief that things have fundamentally changed in America, and there is an ominous possibility they just can’t be put right again.

This is one of the big contrasts between the two parties: Democrats are more bullish on the future.

Trevor Timm at The Guardian writes—US special forces in Syria are Obama’s latest broken foreign policy promise:

These

will supposedly be “advising and assisting” rebel armies in the northern Syria who are fighting Isis, including Kurdish forces, while not engaging in direct combat. (Separately on Friday, the prime minister of Turkey, a member of the anti-Isis coalition, threatened to attack the US-backed Kurdish troops, who are believed to be the most effective fighting force against Isis, yet also sworn enemies of the Turkish government.)
While the administration says they will only be “advising and assisting” we know that the US military has already carried out combat operations inside Syria. “Advise and assist” is the same thing the White House said that our troops would be doing in Iraq, but now the Pentagon is admitting: “We’re in combat” in Iraq as well (and have been for months).

More pundit excerpts below.

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