We know that we saw something appalling yesterday, in Mitt Romney’s response to the violence in Cairo and Benghazi, but let’s not lose sight of the fact that we’re witnessing something historic too. This isn’t simply the end of the Republican Party’s decades-long political advantage on foreign policy that we’re observing. Rather, we are simultaneously able to see how the party is reacting to and dealing with the disappearance of that advantage. It’s like those villains in the movies who not only are dying, but who register on their face that they can’t comprehend they’re dying, that Hell has finally called their malevolent number, like Julia Roberts’s husband in Sleeping With The Enemy. God, it’s fun to watch. But it’s also a reminder of the danger of handing power to this man and the people he would bring in with him.
Marx would be completely dead if we didn’t have the Republicans around to prove him right every so often. Yet here we are in 2012, able to say definitively that the moment of greatest apparent Republican foreign-policy triumph—spring and summer of 2003—contained, in good Marxian fashion, the seeds of its own destruction. That’s when neoconservatism and its grand theories seemed to be on the cusp of a great vindication. The Iraq effort became disastrous, but even into 2005, with the advent of the great uprising in Lebanon and the blessed end of the Syrian occupation, for which Bush deserved and received some credit, no honest liberal skeptic could be completely sure that Wolfowitz & co. had everything wrong.