neoconservatives

WY Senate: Liz Cheney to abandon primary challenge to Mike Enzi

Liz Cheney

Liz Cheney was never really ever to get her campaign against Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) off the ground. Despite her credentials as the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney and endorsements prominent neoconservatives, she made constant missteps that hurt her standing with Republican primary voters.

The New York Times reported early this morning that Cheney will end her primary bid against Enzi, delivering a blow to a Republican establishment hoping to reassert itself in the 2014 election:

Liz Cheney intends to withdraw from the Wyoming Republican Senate primary, according to two sources familiar with her plans, bringing an abrupt end to her unsteady challenge to the incumbent, Michael B. Enzi.

Ms. Cheney, 47, the former vice president’s elder daughter, is expected to drop out of the race this week, citing family reasons. She did not respond to emails and phone calls late Sunday.
[…]
Having relocated from suburban Washington to the Jackson Hole area in 2012, she faced relentless questions about her residency and why she would move to the state her father once represented in Congress and almost immediately begin running for office against an incumbent. Longtime friends of the Cheney family in Wyoming, including former Senator Alan K. Simpson, fretted publicly about such a divisive primary. His open expressions of concern prompted a private rebuke from Liz Cheney’s mother, Lynne, who told him to “shut up,” according to Mr. Simpson.

The perception of Liz Cheney as a carpetbagger was compounded when it was revealed this summer in the Wyoming news media that she had sought a fishing license — a rite of passage in the state — by claiming on her application to be a 10-year resident.

Syria might be turning neocons into skeptics

John Bolton

If you watch Ed Schultz’s show or read his tweets (and let’s be honest, only schadenfreude-fueled right-wingers do), you’d think that conservatives were leading the march to war in Syria:

Neoconservatives specifically are often assumed to be most forcefully pushing for foreign intervention. In most cases, that has been true. But on Syria, even some of the most boisterous neocons in the past have been cautious or outright skeptical.

John Bolton, George W Bush’s former late-term UN Ambassador, said yesterday that if he were in Congress, he wouldn’t vote to approve a strike on the Assad regime:

“I don’t think it’s in America’s interest. I don’t think we should, in effect, take sides in the Syrian conflict. There’s very little to recommend either side to me. And I think the notion that a limited strike, which is what the president seems to be pursuing, will not create a deterrent effect with respect either to Syria’s use of chemical weapons or, more seriously, Iran’s nuclear weapons program. So, all in all, since I don’t see any utility to the use of military force in Syria in this context, I would vote no.”

George Will: Chris Christie is “dangerous”

What’s more dangerous — a government that respects its limitations and the rights of its citizens or a government that can do virtually anything it wants under the guise of protecting the homeland? That’s the question that summed up the public debate between Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) that went down late last month.

George Will, an iconic conservative columnist, answered the question yesterday on ABC’s This Week, explaining libertarianism’s respect for individual liberty and noting that its Christie’s view of government that is truly dangerous.

“[T]here is a rising libertarian stream that Chris Christie has said is ‘a very dangerous thought.’ So let’s be clear about what libertarianism is and what it isn’t. It is not anarchism. It has a role in government,” noted Will during a panel on the Sunday talk show. “What libertarianism says — it comes in many flavors and many degrees of severity, and it basically says before the government abridges the freedom of an individual or the freedom of several individuals contracting together, that government ought to have, a) a compelling reason and b) a constitutional warrant for doing so.”

“Now, if Mr. Christie thinks that’s a dangerous thought, a number of people are going to say that Mr. Christie himself may be dangerous,” said Will in his usually clear and pointed tone.

Christie, Paul dust up is about the future of the Republican Party

We’ve already seen Republicans lash out at Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) due to his strong, influential advocacy for civil liberties, which is a break from Bush-era GOP orthodoxy. But we may have gotten a look last week at how it’ll play into the 2016 race for the party’s nomination.

During a panel on Thursday at the Aspen Institute, Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ), who has had quite the bromance with President Barack Obama, strongly spoke out against the growing libertarian tilt in the country, including both political parties, and, of course, invoked 9/11 in the process:

“This strain of libertarianism that’s going through parties right now and making big headlines I think is a very dangerous thought,” Christie said during a panel discussion with several other Republican governors at the Aspen Institute.

Asked if he was referring specifically to Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., the Republican perhaps most closely associated with a libertarian platform on defense issues and a potential rival of Christie’s in the 2016 GOP presidential primary, the New Jersey Republican replied, “You can name any number of people, and he’s one of them.”

“These esoteric, intellectual debates - I want them to come to New Jersey and sit across from the widows and the orphans and have that conversation. And they won’t, because that’s a much tougher conversation to have,” he added.

“I think what we as a country have to decide is: Do we have amnesia? Because I don’t,” he said. “And I remember what we felt like on September 12, 2001.”

Bill Kristol and Taxes

Written by Marian Tupy, a policy analyst, Center for the Global Liberty and Prosperity at the Cato Institute. Posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.

It has been said of the neo-cons that they are often wrong but never in doubt. Well, Bill Kristol was at it again, predicting the future with his usual sense of supreme confidence.  According to the neo-conservative editor of the Weekly Standard, “It won’t kill the country if Republicans raise taxes a little bit on millionaires… .The Republican Party is gonna fall on its sword to defend a bunch of millionaires, half of whom voted Democratic, and half of whom live in Hollywood and are hostile to Republicans.”

The left has jumped on Kristol’s words. As Andrew Rosenthal wrote in the New York Times, “When even Bill Kristol, the severely conservative Weekly Standard editor, says Republicans should agree to raise taxes on the richest Americans, you have to wonder if the G.O.P. has thought through its post-election, hold-the-line strategy.”

To start with, Kristol misunderstands the opponents of the tax increases on the rich, whose main goal is not to ensure that the rich get to keep more of their money. Their main goal is to prevent the federal government from obtaining a new source of revenue. Why might that be?

Romney’s 4 Percent: A Goal not a Promise, but Still Expensive

Written by Christopher Preble, Vice President for Defense and Foreign Policy Studies at the Cato Institute. Posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.

The advisers who introduced Mitt Romney to the idea that he should spend at least 4 percent of GDP on the Pentagon’s budget are busy clarifying what he means. But “their comments,” conclude Bloomberg’s Gopal Ratnam and Tony Capaccio:

only add to the uncertainty about how much a President Romney might add to the Pentagon’s budget and when, what the additional spending would buy other than more warships and how he’d propose to pay for what analysts say may be as much as $2 trillion in added spending while also whittling down the federal deficit as he’s promised.

Dov Zakheim, a former Pentagon comptroller in George W. Bush’s administration, told Ratnam and Capaccio that Romney’s 4 percent promise is a goal that “is not going to be achieved overnight or perhaps even by the end of the first term.” How quickly Romney reaches his 4 percent target, Zakheim explained at an event last week organized by the group Military Reporters & Editors, “will very much depend on the state of the economy and very much depends on the offsets you’ll be able to find within the defense budget,” but he affirmed that “Every effort will be made to ramp up as soon as possible.”

Middle East problems highlight need for shift in foreign policy

In light of what has gone on in the Middle East in the last week, the United States now has, as Rep. Ron Paul explains at The Hill, an opportunity to take a look at our foreign policy before we make yet another mistake by getting involved in Syria:

The attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya and the killing of the U.S. ambassador and several aides is another tragic example of how our interventionist foreign policy undermines our national security. The more the U.S. tries to control the rest of the world, either by democracy promotion, aid to foreign governments, or by bombs, the more events spin out of control into chaos, unintended consequences, and blowback.

Unfortunately what we saw in Libya this week is nothing new.

In 1980s Afghanistan the U.S. supported Islamic radicals in their efforts to expel the invading Soviet military. These radicals became what we now know as al-Qaeda, and our one-times allies turned on us most spectacularly on September 11, 2001.

Iraq did not have a significant al Qaeda presence before the 2003 U.S. invasion, but our occupation of that country and attempt to remake it in our image caused a massive reaction that opened the door to al Qaeda, leading to thousands of US soldiers dead, a country destroyed, and instability that shows no sign of diminishing.

Marco Rubio - a blast from the past

 

As Mitt Romney has moved into “presumptive nominee” status, the focus has shifted to whom he might choose to be his running mate.  The conventional wisdom states that Romney would pick someone to his right, in order to shore up support from conservatives who distrust him.  While it is still only April, the name that I see popping up the most is Senator Marco Rubio from Florida.

It’s not hard to see his appeal to the Republican base.  Rubio is a child of Cuban immigrants.  He is charismatic, smart, and attractive.  He has a beautiful family, has connections to both Protestant and Catholic churches, and speaks openly about his faith.  His positions are largely in line with the conservative base - strongly pro-life, anti-ObamaCare, and hawkish on foreign policy.

But for those of us hoping the Republican Party can take a new direction, Rubio poses a number of problems.  As Jason Pye blogged earlier this week, Rubio proudly declared that George W. Bush was a “fantastic President”.  One has to seriously question what exactly he thinks was fantastic about Bush.  Was it his wild spending and vast expansion of government in the form of Medicare Part D and No Child Left Behind?  Perhaps it was the unnecessary Iraq War which cost thousands of lives?  Or maybe it was his mistreatment of prisoners?  It’s troubling that Rubio considers these things “fantastic.”

Mitt Romney’s American Delusion

Republican voters are being put through the pincers. We are back to 2008. Heaps of strong candidates, but no consensus. Great speeches, but no substance. PAC money spent by the millions, but no conclusive results. GOP candidates are even welcoming Democratic voters, to smear each other, to add to their victories, or to just plainly embitter each other. The Republican race is not going to get any more civil. Once, we see these subterfuges, we can ask the real questions: what will it take to unseat Obama in November, and who can best do this?

In America the conservative movement has been changing. Neo-conservatives, who had for roughly two decades (1980-2000) held the strongarm of the party, are gone with the Bush Administration’s doctrine of “pre-emptive strike” and the PATRIOT ACT. We are in the midst of the dregs. Still trying to find out which direction this country will spill it’s spirit of changelessness.

For all his grandeur, Mitt Romney just has not taken his campaign to the next level. Rick Santorum has peaked, but more likely will not hold his miniscule leads. Newt Gingrinch’s populism and Ron Paul’s constitutionalism, so similar to each other, are self-negating. None is in charge. Marginal candidates can’t win delegates, nor the RNC party’s nomination. Mitt Romney, the ever-chameleon like business mogul, can’t strike a human touch to save his life and political prospects.

If Mitt Romney is the front runner of the wolves, ready to flay Obama; what is his version of the American Dream? How does he see this country, through which prism? Is it a legalistic, rigidly technocratic, institutional approach? It seems, his advantage is not his base, his character, anything as much as his warchest. He won’t run out of steam. Even if the delegate count gets close in Tampa, FL this spring; he’ll be able to resurrect himself, make the necessary promises and sail away with the nomination.

Most Powerful US Nuke On The Chopping Block

The United States’ most powerful nuclear weapon is now being dismantled over at Pantex:

AMARILLO, Texas (AP) - The last of the nation’s most powerful nuclear bombs _ a weapon hundreds of times stronger than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima _ is being disassembled nearly half a century after it was put into service at the height of the Cold War.

[…]

Put into service in 1962, when Cold War tensions peaked during the Cuban Missile Crisis, the B53 weighed 10,000 pounds and was the size of a minivan. According to the American Federation of Scientists, it was 600 times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, killing as many as 140,000 people and helping end World War II.

The B53 was designed to destroy facilities deep underground, and it was carried by B-52 bombers.

 

With its destruction, the next largest bomb in operation will be the B83, said Hans Kristensen, a spokesman for the Federation of American Scientists. It’s 1.2 megatons, while the B53 was 9 megatons.

Thank goodness.

While I’m sure it would irk some neoconservatives and chickenhawks, it is always a good sign to see such destructive weapons be laid to rest. The time of nuclear deterrance ended in the late eighties, and we’re in a different period where simply having the biggest nuke won’t protect us from foreign threats.


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