Politico profiles Steve Clemons, leader of the heterodox Afghanistan Study Group and blogger at The Washington Note, in a splashy, above-the-fold, front-page feature. Presented as the outsider’s insider, the piece emphasizes Clemons’ conciliatory approach. His “frenemies” at AIPAC call his ideas “out of the mainstream,” but Clemons still refuses to let his allies demonize the Israel Lobby:
… please don’t demonize [AIPAC]. I don’t do it — I just debate issues with them and just don’t want that angle to distract from the bigger policy battles.
Clemons is right to stay focused on policy issues. Too often opposition to the foreign policy consensus descends into drawing horns on the neocons, leading only to easy marginalization. Clemons may not be used to the kind of front-page attention he’s getting today — but let’s hope that it signals that his ideas are not as “out of the mainstream” as his frenemies would suggest.
But perhaps the most interesting bit comes at the end of the profile, with Clemons signaling that he might support a Jon Huntsman presidential bid:
I think Jon Huntsman is terrific,” he said in a recent email. “I do and have talked with him on many occasions. Last met him at his office in Beijing but looking forward to seeing him soon at his new home in Kalorama. He reminds me of Chuck Hagel — and I might support him if he runs. I think he’d make a great president.