As we have seen, the current presidential race has created some angst amongst the supposed Republican thought leaders who are disturbed that someone as boorish, vulgar, incoherent, and intemperate as Donald Trump has taken over their party. While various individuals have struggled to find their position with respect to Trump (Endorse? Support but not endorse (whatever that means)? Oppose?) there is one group that seems to have decided that Hillary Clinton is clearly the way to go and that consists of the neoconservatives.
In his defense of Clinton, Kagan told The New York Times he is “comfortable with her on foreign policy,” noting it is “something that might have been called neocon, but clearly her supporters are not going to call it that; they are going to call it something else.”
Kirchick and Kagan have joined numerous right-wing confrères in endorsing Clinton for president.
Max Boot, a hard-line war hawk and self-declared “American imperialist,” lauded Clinton in an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times in May.
“Clinton would be far preferable to Trump,” Boot wrote, describing her as “a centrist Democrat who is more hawkish than President Obama and far more principled and knowledgeable about foreign affairs than Trump, who is too unstable and erratic.”
Fellow neocon Bret Stephens also expressed support for Clinton in May, in an op-ed titled “Hillary: The Conservative Hope.”
This does not surprise me. The neoconservatives have been a pernicious influence in US politics, advocating for the muscular use of the US military to ruthlessly advance their agenda of US hegemony in general and support for the most hardline and extremist Israeli policies in particular. They found their soul mates in the Bush-Cheney regime and the resulting carnage in the Middle East as a result of the decision to invade Iraq can be laid squarely at their feet.
But Hillary Clinton has been a consistent war hawk who shares their views and since the neoconservatives don’t really care about other issues, it is not surprising that they have switched to her and against the unpredictable Trump. But what is notable are the lack of calls from Democratic party members for Clinton to disavow this neoconservative support.
It is standard practice than when a candidate gets an endorsement or financial support from elements who are considered undesirable or have expressed views considered outside the mainstream of that party, the candidate is expressed to reject that support and return the funds. One sees this with Donald Trump with respect to the white supremacists who have come out in support of him. There were even calls for candidate Barack Obama to repudiate, disavow, and leave the church of the Reverent Jeremiah Wright because the fiery Wright did not buy into the idea of the US being wholly good and harshly criticized the US history towards black people and had the nerve to so “God damn America!” for its behavior.
Within the Democratic party now, there is a consensus that war in Iraq was at best a grotesque error that has resulted in massive tragedy for the people of that entire region, though some of us consider it far worse than an error and an outright war crime. That view has been so strong that Clinton has been forced to say that her vote in favor of that war was a mistake. Hence surely one would expect that the endorsement by people who were the very worst bloodthirsty warmongers like Boot, Kirchik, Stephens, and Kagan would result in calls by the Democratic party for her to reject their support and endorsement. After all, they advocated for a policy that resulted in a massive number of deaths that are still ongoing, something that Wright never did.
And yet, there are no such calls. This is because much of the mainstream media in the US is also complicit in the neoconservative agenda, giving them many platforms and allowing them plenty of opportunities to advance their views. In particular, let us never forget the role that the New York Times played in promoting the lies that led to the Iraq war.
If one is measured by the friends one keeps, then just as Trump’s support from white supremacists reflects badly on him, so does neoconservative support for Clinton.