Libertarian/Paleo-conservative Disaster in the Making?
Jennifer Rubin has an op-ed in the WaPost today bewailing the possibility of a libertarian/Paleo-conservative GOP candidate for President. The upshot would be a fiscally conservative candidate who wants to decrease American overseas involvement, running to the right of Obama on fiscal issues and to the left on national security issues. Rubin says that three candidates in the debate in South Carolina last week were taking that position -- Herman Cain, Gary Johnson, and Ron Paul. She also indicates that Haley Barbour probably would have taken that position and Mitch Daniels might as he has called for defense cuts just as President Obama has.
Rubin seems to think this would be a disaster for the GOP:
A nominee sporting such an outlook, I would suggest, will tear the GOP asunder. Religious conservatives (who take seriously the unique role and obligation of the United States in the world) and defense hawks would be aghast to hear a Republican nominee trying to match (or even outbid) Obama’s defense reductions. And those Republican lawmakers who are bravely resisting the drumbeat in favor of slashing defense would be undercut by their party’s standard-bearer, leaving them vulnerable to attack by Democrats eager to throw the presidential nominee’s positions up in their faces.
In sum, there are substantive and political reasons for Republicans to resist the temptation to abandon modern conservatism’s foreign policy (one that is grounded in moral values as well as a canny assessment of the danger of inaction). Whether they will do so depends in large part on the quality of the candidates and the strength of their arguments. If the internationalists are not forceful and effective in debunking the isolationists, as well as successful at the primary ballot boxes, the country and the party will suffer.
Do you think such a candidate would be disaster for the GOP? For the nation?