Many middle-aged and young neoconservatives will tell you the term is a misnomer. Unlike their elders (both figuratively and literally) they’ve made no journey from being a socialist to a conservative, with a stop at the ADA in between. They’ve always been conservatives and Republicans.
So what was conservative Republican Bill Kristol doing when he reportedly advised President Obama on both his Libyan policy and the speech he made back on March 28 — and then bragged about it thereafter? It would seem an odd thing for a conservative Republican to do.
But it shows that the only ideology Kristol and his friends believe in is the ideology of “influence” — no matter who sits in the Oval Office and no matter what faction they reportedly represent, the neocons will always be around to give out friendly bits of advice, which adds to the perception of their power. If America is the indispensible nation according to them, they are the indispensable faction, willing to ally themselves with anyone in order to stay in the loop.
But there may well be a deeper motive to their ideological flexibility. The fact that more Republicans are both questioning the nature of U.S. foreign policy and its costs suggests the days of neoconservatives dominating the discussion within the GOP may well be winding down. In fact it may well be winding down in conservative circles as well, as the debate between Thomas Woods and Mark Levin attests to. Who would have thought the former Reagan Administration official and talk-radio host Levin would be the Obama Administration’s chief defender when it comes to President’s power as Commander-in-Chief and Congress’ power to declare war?
If this trend continues and if the Republicans nominate a lackluster candidate for President in 2012, the neocons may well fall back on Obama to maintain such “influence” on foreign policy. No doubt the Administration would love to have such support which would, on its face, divide conservatives and the GOP and make Obama look less partisan and less liberal. And there’s no doubt the neocons would love to have a foot in the Democratic door as well. Indeed, Obama could become this generation’s Henry M. “Scoop” Jackson, the last Democrat to command their support.