It’s been obvious that from the elite level to the rank-and-file, Republicans have been reapplying the war paint that had begun to fade a bit during protests against various national security positions of the Obama administration. And it’s also becoming apparent that this could affect the party message and nominating process in 2016, as I noted today at the Washington Monthly.
Yes, it’s suddenly a fine time once again to be a Republican super-hawk, what with the GOP rank-and-file getting back in touch with their inner Dick Cheney, and even Rand Paul getting all macho about “destroying” IS. At that neocon fortress, the Weekly Standard, Stephen Hayes can’t help but gloat.
The Republican flirtation with dovish noninterventionism is over. It wasn’t much of a fling.
No, it wasn’t.
Hayes quickly warms to the idea that this new mood of joy in blowing thing up overseas as well as at home will be a big factor in 2016. And though he mentions Paul’s back-tracking and some upcoming “big” speech by Bobby Jindal on defense (presumably because his effort to be the most ferocious Christian Right figure in the campaign hasn’t much worked), Hayes has no doubt who the biggest beneficiary will be:
Not immigration reform? Just kidding.
Rubio called for dramatic increases in defense spending. He said the United States should be prepared to send ground troops to Iraq if necessary to defeat ISIS. He argued that the United States must “be able to project power into multiple theaters in the world.” He said that the United States should embrace its role as a superpower and “conduct a multifaceted foreign policy.”
For the first time, I’m seeing a glimmer of how Rubio might be able to overcome the horrendous damage he suffered among conservative activists with his advocacy of comprehensive immigration reform.
The smell of gunpowder in the air in GOP politics has gotten so strong, in fact, that Lindsey Graham is imagining himself as a 2016 presidential candidate.
That ain’t happening, but it’s a sign of the times.