The Media’s favorite candidates who want more war are not doing well in the polls, but outsiders who are far less militaristic are leading.
Justin Raimondo has written in defense of the American Right, but the editor of Anti-War.com is not really a conservative politically or ethically. Still, his analysis of the Republican debate on CNN presents interesting evidence of what the voters care about.
Both Trump and Carson – the two frontrunners, mind you – are straying from neoconservative orthodoxy when it comes to foreign policy.
Trump scored big points against Bush when brought up the Iraq war and declared (falsely) that he was the only person on the stage who was against it. (Rand Paul was against it early on.) Of course, Jeb Bush evaded the issue and defended his brother, former President George W. Bush, by stating “He kept us safe.” The stacked audience – MSNBC has pointed out how it was stacked with Bush operatives – burst into sustained applause, but the fact of the matter is that a Bush was President on September 11, 2001, when Osama bin Laden caught us unawares, and in spite of many warnings. Does Jeb think we’ve forgotten?
Jake Tapper, ever the neocon, tried to make an issue of Dr. Carson’s statement that he wouldn’t have invaded Afghanistan, giving the bellicose balloon Chris Christie the bait. Yet Carson staunchly defended his stance, telling us how he went to the White House and argued for a strategy that would have made America energy independent – and thus not dependent on controlling events in the region. “There are smart ways to do things and there are muscular ways to do things,” said Carson in his eminently reasonable tone of voice, “and sometimes you have to look at both of those to come up with the right solution.”
Trump is constantly saying “I’m the most militaristic person in this room,” and yet this debate revealed that when it comes down to specifics he’s actually one of the least militaristic. On Russia, on the Middle East, and on the question of talking to our alleged adversaries, he’s miles away from the Rubio-Fiorina-Cruz et al warmongering of the crazypants Republican “mainstream.”
So what it comes down to is this: the two frontrunners, Trump and Carson– in spite of their occasional blustering – are the ones most willing to throw neocon foreign policy orthodoxy under the bus.
On the other hand, the candidates the media seems to be rooting for – Fiorina and Rubio – are most explicit in their warmongering, and are also way behind in the polls.
What does that tell us?
Well, it tells me that, in this year of the mavericks, the inchoate desire of Americans to stop policing the world and start attending to their problems right here in this country is paramount. It may not find consistent expression in the stream-of-consciousness outbursts of The Donald and the ruminations of Dr. Carson, but it is there nonetheless.
And then there’s the lesson to be learned in the candidacy of the most consistently militaristic candidate of them all: that’s Lindsey Graham, who demands 20,000 troops on the ground in Syria and Iraq (to start), and who wants to confront Putin by arming Ukraine. He is presently a zero percent in the polls – and that pretty much says it all.
The American people never wanted an empire. That expensive and dangerous monstrosity is entirely the child of the political class, which flatters itself with the conceit that it has the right and the knowledge to lord it over most of the earth. Yet the American people are now rebelling against those same masters of conceit, as we are seeing in the poll numbers overwhelmingly favoring outsiders like Trump and Carson.
Raimondo also belives it is significant that both Trump and Carson are outsiders to the political class. Their willingness to avoid “military solutions” is related. The Pentagon handles a lot of money and the military industrial complex keeps a group of people very rich. Trump and Carson have developed careers that don’t depend on such financial relationships.
Back in 2008, everyone admitted that Barack Obama was getting votes because people were tired of war. Since then he has only spread that war, even though he’s tried to be quiet about using American troops. Are we supposed to believe that the sentiment that backed Obama in 2008 has simply disappeared?
There is every reason to hope that Raimondo is right that Republican voters are fed up with the insiders and their military industrial complex.