Jacob Heilbrunn speculates about an alliance between neoconservatives and Hillary Clinton:
It’s easy to imagine Mrs. Clinton’s making room for the neocons in her administration. No one could charge her with being weak on national security with the likes of Robert Kagan on board.
This is not impossible, but I wouldn’t consider it very likely. That’s not because Clinton and neoconservatives don’t frequently come down on the same side of foreign policy debates. As Heilbrunn notes and as I have observed many times, Clinton is as reliably hawkish as major Democratic politicians come, and I assume she wouldn’t be opposed to working with neoconservatives in the future on certain issues. That said, Clinton wouldn’t need to include neoconservatives in her hypothetical future administration, and they wouldn’t want to join. Her own party already has more than enough interventionists of its own, as her career and the careers of many of her allies and supporters attest. After all, why would she stir up controversy by bringing in neoconservatives when she can get very similar policy results and much better press by bringing on, say, Anne-Marie Slaughter and other liberal hawks? Supposing that a Paul nomination caused neoconservatives to endorse Clinton, that would be their ideologically-driven act of protest and not something that Clinton would feel any need to reward. Democratic partisans would spin such endorsements as “bipartisan” validation of Clinton’s foreign policy views, and they would find the display of Republican factionalism very entertaining at least until the election was over. For their part, neoconservatives have become so identified as Republican partisans that I doubt they could bring themselves to work for a Democratic president, especially when they would have so many more incentives to rile up opposition to another Clinton administration.
If Clinton ran and won the election, it is even easier to imagine that most neoconservatives would respond in much the same way they did when her husband was in office: support her only when she opted for military action while agitating for even more aggressive measures, and otherwise berate her for being “feckless,” “indecisive,” and insufficiently aggressive in responding to foreign threats. As long as the Republican nominee turns out to be someone who more or less repeats their talking points, which I’m sorry to say is more likely than not, neoconservatives will be content to portray Clinton as a McGovernite on foreign policy despite the inherent absurdity in doing so. This is what they have done to every Democratic nominee for the last thirty years, and I have no reason to expect them to do otherwise next time. In the end, it is more useful for pushing their hard-line foreign policy to ridicule Democratic hawks as “weak” on national security than it is to lend more than tactical, conditional support to a Democratic administration, no matter how hawkish it may be in practice. Neoconservatives will always be willing to demand policies more aggressive than whatever a Democratic president decides to do, and they will happily foist those policies on Republican voters for as long as they are allowed to do so. The problem with a future Clinton administration isn’t that it would be filled with neoconservatives, but that it will be staffed by Democratic partisans with a record of foreign policy judgment that is just as awful.