“The Quagmire in Iraq … Staggering Budget Deficits … and a coming Civil War in the GOP,” all the fireworks one has come to expect from Patrick J. Buchanan and succinctly packaged up with a bow in Where The Right Went Wrong—How Neoconservatives subverted the Reagan Revolution and Hijacked the Bush Presidency.
Pat asks, “Who are they, the neoconservatives?” He answers, “The first generation were ex-Trotskyites, socialists, leftists, and liberals who backed FDR, Truman, JFK, and LBJ. When the Democratic party was captured by McGovern in 1972—on a platform of cutting defense and ‘Come Home America’—these Cold War liberals found themselves isolated and ignored in their own party. Adrift, they rafted over to the Republican Party and were pulled aboard as conservatism’s long voyage was culminating in the triumph of Reagan. Neoconservatives were the boat people of the McGovern revolution that was itself the political vehicle of the moral, social, and cultural revolution of the 1960s.”
About neocons, Pat continues, “Almost none came out of the Goldwater campaign, the catalyzing event of modern conservatism, or out of the business world or the military.” Pat harks back to a Max Boot Wall Street Journal essay, “What the Heck Is a Neocon?” Boot called support for Israel “a key tenet of neoconservatism.” As Pat notes, it was the only tenet Boot mentioned, adding that Commentary, the magazine of the American Jewish Congress, is the “neocon bible.”
Pat includes two insightful quotes leading off his chapter “The War Party: Highjackers of American Foreign Policy:”
(1) “With the end of the Cold War, what we really need is an obvious ideological and threatening enemy, one worthy of our mettle, one that can unite us in opposition.” (Irving Kristol, 1966)
(2) “I don’t know where the neocons came from. … Somehow, the neocons captured the president. They captured the vice president.” (Gen. Anthony Zinni, USMC [ret.] Centcom Commander, 1998-2000).