It’s hard for me to imagine paleo-conservatives and neo-conservatives in the same party four years from now.
We’re in the same party? That comes as news to me. Of course, as I said the other day, it seems possible that neoconservatives will gravitate toward supporting an Obama administration that will prove to be every bit as activist and interventionist as Obama’s earliest policy addresses suggested that it would be. Just as many Obamacons moved to Obama in the hopes of discrediting the neocons, they will probably be alienated from a President Obama who, while not advised by neoconservatives, nonetheless has many of the same objectives and has no intention of changing most U.S. policies abroad. It might be difficult for some after having tried to portray Obama as a McGovernite, but they’ll manage. Republican politicians, on the other hand, may become less eager to embark on foreign adventures and make new commitments around the world after having been burned by the fires of the “global democratic revolution” Mr. Bush tried to spark, so more paleocons may find the GOP barely tolerable once more if traditional realists enjoy a brief revival. Without the steady tug of party/tribal loyalty, the GOP’s Jacksonians may rediscover hostility to needless deployments and unnecessary wars, which will, of course, evaporate the moment a future President from their own party declares an unnecessary war to be necessary.
P.S. To help resolve Philip Klein’s puzzlement, the reason many so-called hostile critics of Israel “are looking forward to Obama’s policies in the Middle East” is one of the following: either they either don’t know what his policies are and are projecting their own desires onto him, or they know what his stated positions are and have gone into complete denial. My guess is that most Obama backers who expect significant change in foreign policy are engaged in wishful thinking rather than willful denial, but it could be some of both.