Since comments on my post about Ted Cruz turned into a discussion of another high-profile GOP face-of-the-moment, I thought y’all might enjoy Alex Pareene’s take:
You saw the thing where Chris Christie and Rand Paul had an argument (in the press, not face to face) that climaxed with Paul calling Christie “King of Bacon,” right? That was not merely a game of the Conservative Dozens. That was a battle in the war for the soul of the Republican Party. In this war, Christie has a stalwart crusader on his side: Jennifer Rubin.
The Washington Post’s token conservative blogger headlined her post on the tiff “Christie flattens Rand Paul,” which I’m pretty sure was not meant to be a joke about Christie’s size, but, like “King of Bacon,” you can’t really help but go there. “This is getting fun,” she says, above an embedded YouTube of Christie doing his “arguing with some jerk-off” shtick, but this time against an opponent who is not actually present…
… What you have to remember about Rubin is that she actually doesn’t really care that much about “conservatism” as a whole. She cares primarily about “national security,” which is to say war-making and Muslim-bombing, two fixations she shares with the editors of her former employer, Commentary. Her beef with Rand Paul isn’t about his dalliance with white supremacists or his decidedly austere plans for the social safety net, even if she’ll use those beliefs as a cudgel against him if need be. Her beef with Paul is that he is not an interventionist neoconservative hawk.
The problem for her, right now, is that the GOP is almost running low on those, following the rather disastrous Bush administration and its launching of two endless, awful wars. The future of the party most likely looks more like Paul (and, honestly, Pat Buchanan) than Liz Cheney.
But the hawks have a contingency plan. They will do what they have been doing for a generation: take attractive pols with absolutely no foreign policy opinions and give them some. Matt Welch recently described this process in Reason. Sarah Palin was trained in interventionism by Fred Barnes and Bill Kristol. A conservative operative described her as “a blank page” and a “project.” John McCain himself was trained in “Teddy Roosevelt”-style foreign adventuring, years ago, by David Brooks and “one of Bill Kristol’s best friends,” Marshall Wittmann…
One of the funnier aspects of the 2012 presidential election was watching Jennifer Rubin shift from a not-particularly-conservative uber-hawk blogger to an unpaid advocate for all things Mitt Romney, because her allies were advising Romney and she is deeply invested in her allies regaining power. It looks like she has her man for 2016. Or at least a man she’d be comfortable shilling for, over and over again, shamelessly. Congratulations, Chris Christie. Neoconservative fear of Rand Paul has just made you a new best friend.