Monday, August 13, 2012

Romney Still a Predictable Neocon

As for neoconservatives and “the base,” I have to protest. Romney didn’t include neoconservatives on his foreign policy team to keep “that part of the base happy.” They aren’t part of “the base.” Neoconservatives are almost entirely movement and party elites, and they are the ones Romney was trying to satisfy. They have little or no representation at the rank-and-file level. If he didn’t have Robert Kagan and the like on his foreign policy team, 90% of Republican voters wouldn’t even notice, but neoconservative activists and pundits in Washington would. His choice of advisers is a statement about how he intends to govern, and the advisers he appears to listen to most often are among the most hawkish. I’m not sure that the Zoellick appointment even qualifies as throwing realists a (very small) bone, since there are indications that no thought was given to the policy implications of the choice. Realists are treating the appointment as a signal that Romney is sending out, but apparently it wasn’t intended as a signal and it doesn’t say anything about the content of Romney’s future foreign policy.

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