I’m grateful to the folks at LobeLog for publishing me twice today, and I’d be grateful to you folks for heading over there and checking both pieces out. First up was something I’d been working on last week with Jim Lobe, the “Lobe” in LobeLog, on what Donald Trump’s rise in the Republican Party (and his likely upcoming matchup with Hillary Clinton) is doing to the neoconservative movement. A lot of them are really quite unhappy with Trump as Republican nominee. They’ve spent a great deal of effort trying to sway Republican voters against him and, now that it appears to have all been for naught, many leading neocon voices are saying they won’t support Trump in the fall:
But Kagan isn’t the only prominent neoconservative to express his dissatisfaction with Trump. In early March, former Bush administration official Eliot Cohen wrote a letter denouncing Trump that was signed by over 100 influential Republican foreign policy thinkers, nearly all of them neoconservatives. Then, in another Washington Post editorial written after Cruz and Kasich had dropped out of the race, Cohen declared that “it is time for a third candidate, and probably for a third party.” In an interview with Vox.com in March, Council on Foreign Relations senior fellow Max Boot said “I disagree with Hillary a lot less than I disagree with Donald Trump” and called Clinton “vastly preferable.” Elliott Abrams, formerly on Trump rival Ted Cruz’s foreign policy team, told Politico that he would be “unable to vote for Trump or Clinton” if those were the two nominees. Columnist Charles Krauthammer recently told Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly that “I don’t think I’d be capable of voting for Donald Trump.” Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens wrote on March 28 that “Trump is Obama Squared” (he didn’t mean it as a compliment), though he’s not yet said whether he could support Trump in November.
Robert Kagan, one of the most influential figures in neoconservatism over the past couple of decades, has already said he’ll vote for Clinton in the fall. Stephens just today wrote a column openly rooting for a Clinton victory, though where Kagan sees Clinton has preferable to Trump Stephens seems to be looking at it in terms of the survivability of movement conservatism. A Clinton presidency gives them all something to rally against, you see, while a Trump presidency would simply wreck everything. You have to assume for the sake of Stephens’s argument that Donald Trump isn’t the literal embodiment of all of the grossest, most hateful and xenophobic, aspects of movement conservatism. He is, of course, but Stephens won’t even admit that to himself, much less to his
My second piece of the day was something I wrote on the fly this morning, in response to a profile in The New York Times Magazine last week of White House Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes. Continue reading