My friend, Cato Institute’s Chris Preble, wins the gold metal for his cogent analysis of America’s foreign policy as conducted by both major parties.
Consider the top 10 contenders for the GOP nomination according to an April 2014 FoxNews poll. Only two — Paul Ryan and Rick Santorum — were in Congress in 2002. Both voted for the Iraq resolution, and neither has declared that he made a mistake.
Marco Rubio, who entered the Senate in 2011, has consistently sided with the most hawkish faction in that chamber, and, true to form, is calling for U.S. military action in Iraq right now. Jeb Bush has an unfortunate last name.
Rick Perry was busy being governor of Texas in 2002, and Ted Cruz was still a relative unknown, but neither has distanced himself from his fellow Texan’s war. Perry proposed sending troops back into Iraq in 2012, and Ted Cruz scored points with hawks for his attack on Chuck Hagel. Among Hagel’s sins? Opposing the Iraq war (after Hagel had voted for it).
Not quite a year ago, before the Bridgegate scandal broke, Chris Christie warned of the “dangerous” “strain of libertarianism” running in the GOP, by which he meant Rand Paul, the only serious Republican contender who has stated categorically that the Iraq war was a mistake.
Scott Walker and Bobby Jindal would probably rather not talk about foreign policy at all (and who can blame them?), but they eventually will be asked about Iraq if they run for president.
The public’s approval of Barack Obama’s foreign policy continues to decline, but it’s obvious why the GOP’s star isn’t rising. Obama’s unofficial mantra “don’t do stupid [stuff],” so ripe for ridicule by the pro-war faction, looks preferable to the alternative: “we do stupid stuff, and we’re proud of it!”
With that slogan, Republicans will have a hard time convincing the American people to trust them with the keys to the nation’s foreign policy.