A Moderate Republican Breaking Point?

James Joyner, writing for the Atlantic, has a great piece up on Republican intransigence over Hagel’s nomination. He looks at the foreign policy statements Hagel has made and describes them as firmly in the Eisenhower tradition. He writes:

Susan Eisenhower , Ike’s granddaughter and a Republican foreign policy leader in her own right, argues that “the impact of the Hagel nomination could well be about the future of the Republican Party.” She reasons:

The Republican Party is now at a crossroads. Over the last decade moderate Republicans have felt increasingly out of place in its ranks. If the GOP confirms Hagel, it could bolster the idea of a ‘big tent’ Republican Party. A GOP-led rejection of a Republican war hero with impeccable centrist credentials, however, could well be a fatal blow to that concept, along with some of the party’s longest and most successful traditions.

She is right.

Lindsey Graham notwithstanding, Hagel’s views on most foreign policy issues of the day are well in the mainstream of the professional foreign policy establishment. It’s why so many legends of the business — Brent Scowcroft, Colin Powell, Zbigniew Brzesinski, Robert Gates, Jim Jones, and so many more — have lauded his nomination.

Problematically, while Scowcroft, Powell, and Eisenhower are admired by professionals in their field, their party’s leadership views them as Republicans in Name Only — if not outright apostates. It’s a status they share with Richard Lugar, George H.W. Bush, Jon Huntsman, and, yes, Chuck Hagel.

Either the Republican Party has to re-embrace its traditional foreign policy agenda, or those of us who have been left on the outside looking in will have to conclude that it’s no longer our party.

While the transition has been remarkably fast, today’s Republican Party is simply not the party of Dwight Eisenhower or even Ronald Reagan. Scowcroft advised Presidents Nixon, Ford and George H.W. Bush. Hagel and Huntsman both served in the Reagan administration. But, just as the Tea Party is now the de facto domestic policy face of the GOP, the neocons are its foreign policy face.

Unless there’s a course correction and soon, those of us who describe ourselves as “Eisenhower Republicans,” “Chuck Hagel Republicans,” or “Jon Huntsman Republicans” will have to face up to the fact that the modifier negates the noun.

Read the whole thing.

I wrote yesterday that the neocons and tea partiers are looking for a fusion, an alliance, through moves like Jim DeMint’s to Heritage. I think James is going to be disappointed and that 2013 is the year the G.O.P. will begin to truly die as a prospective party of government.

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Steve Hynd

Most recently I was Editor in Chief of The Agonist from Feb 2012 to Feb 2013. My blogging began at Newshoggers and I’ve had the immense pleasure of working with some great writers there and around the web ever since, including at Crooks & Liars. I'm a late 40′s, Scottish ex-pat, now married to a wonderful Texan, with Honours in Philosophy from Univ. of Stirling, UK 1986. I worked most of life in business insurance industry (fire, accident, liability) including 12 years as a broker/underwriter/correspondent at Lloyd’s of London. Being from the other side of the pond, my political interests tend to focus on how US foreign policy affects the rest of the planet. Other interests include early and dark-ages British history, literature and cognitive philosophy/science.

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  • The Republican Party was staggering to irrelevance in 2008. The Democratic Party leadership had to work awfully hard to rehabilitate it. The war isn’t between Democrats and Republicans; it’s between the oligarchs and the rest of us. A two party system provides cover for unpopular policy. Neither party will be allowed to die. The most important policy is BIPARTISANSHIP!!! It’s especially important when you’ve got the power to do what you said you’d do during the campaign. That’s when you need bipartisanship to make it impossible to do what you said you’d do. ‘Cause of that evil other party, of course.

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