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Hullabaloo


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

 
Coupla warmongers worrying about our appetite for battle

by digby

Hugh Hewitt talks to Charles Krauthamer about the impending wussification of the GOP:
HH: Charles, last week, two things happened, over the last weeks. The Gates memoir was published, and Republicans, Republicans got their act together to accomplish one thing in the budget deal, which was to cut the retirement COLA of active duty careerists, meaning that they were going to go 20 years, breaking faith with a core constituency to the Republican Party, and with people who have done six and seven deployments over twelve years of wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Djibouti and around the world, which leads me to the question, is there a national security party left in the United States?

CK: Well, there better be, because our children will be speaking Chinese otherwise, or perhaps Arabic, or perhaps, I mean, who knows? Here’s the great dilemma. There is this kind of weariness among conservatives. I mean, if you go very far back, Hugh, you know, isolationism is not an alien tendency within the United States. It’s always been there. It waxes and wanes. You know, it was discredited by Pearl Harbor, but it came back. It came back after the Second World War, discredited a little bit by the fact that conservatives embraced Truman in the Truman Doctrine in resisting communism. But actually, it’s quite interesting. I would have expected that the conservative consensus on foreign policy would dissolve with the disillusion of the Soviet Union because, again, isolationism is more naturally conservative than liberal. Some isolationism of course draws on liberals and socialism. But generally speaking, it has a more, a hard core conservative constituency. So that split did not occur in the early 1990s as you would have expected. And it did not occur after 9/11. I think what has happened is that this natural schism among conservatives, the national security types and the more isolationist types, has occurred somewhat belatedly, but it was inevitable. And now with Rand Paul and others, a very articulate, far more articulate and serious than his father, of presenting the more isolationist of view, or as they would prefer to say, more non-interventionist, you’ve got a serious argument among conservatives. I think that’s relatively healthy. I think every generation, you need to have that argument. I think the argument really is overwhelming in favor of those who say if not us, who? And there is no one. I mean, you know, it’s very easy to be a non-interventionist if you’re French or German or Greek, because in the end, you know, you can eat and drink and be merry, for the United States will protect you. The problem with the United States doing that is there’s no one behind us. And that seems to me to be irrefutable.
Hewitt is not mollified and continues to whine:
HH: And the problem with last week is not that it was the Rand Paul wing of the limited interventionist or even isolationist, but I got into a fairly heated exchange on the program with Paul Ryan, a great friend of the program, and a great friend of national defense, in which he defended cutting the active duty military’s COLA. They were the only group that was singled out. He said he didn’t want to do it, it wouldn’t have happened if he and Mitt had won, but the Republicans led the way. And Chris Van Hollen, Democrat of Maryland, said it was their idea to do that. And my email box is full of never again will I support the Republicans from veterans and lieutenant colonels and people, you know, master sergeants and senior chiefs who served their 20 years and feel absolutely sold out. I don’t understand where the Republicans are that will, I actually can’t name the Republican who is the leader of the national security caucus. I discount John McCain because he’s worn out, and his welcome is actually worn out among most Republicans. But there is no one behind him.
Krauthamer brings up Huckleberry.

Needless to say both also agreed that Obama is selling Israel down the river and that Bibi is almost certain to start bombing Iran any day. Because if he doesn't we'll all be speaking Chinese or Arabic. Or something.

I only bring this up because it's interesting that they are feeling any kind of isolationist pressure within the Party. I truly believe it is about the least likely way the GOP will end up going. They haven't been isolationist since Hitler was a gleam in a young wingnuts eye and in my opinion it's very unlikely that will change. The proposal to cut of the retirement benefits is a rare instance of the austerians feeling the need to pretend they are being "fair" which could have only come about as a result of Ted Cruz's disaster. They know which side their bread is buttered on. (Of course, there are plenty of Democrats who nibble off the same sandwich.)

I could be wrong, of course. Perhaps the conservative majority of the GOP no longer sees itself as the avatars of martial flag-waving and patriotic exceptionalism. But I'd be very surprised. The miniscule libertarian wing of the Republican Party is influential to the extent that it cares about lowering taxes and regulations. The isolationism will likely last just as long as there's a Democrat in the White House.

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