Republican Retreat On National Security
Until the “new politics” presidency of Jimmy Carter, the Democratic party during the Cold War would never have tolerated such abject capitulations to totalitarian forces. And when Carter showed such doubt and denial, the Republican party could be counted on to defend the morality of American power and carry the fight to the enemy. The Republicans did so with the conviction that they were expressing the deepest convictions of the American people.
In domestic politics, the American people preferred Democratic promoters of the welfare state to Republican proponents of fiscal restraint. The same electorate switched its vote, however, when the issue was protecting the American homeland. While voters made Democrats the majority party in the people’s House for 38 of the 42 years of America’s Cold War with the Soviet Union, in 28 of those years they elected a Republican to be their commander-in-chief. Moreover, three of the four Democrats who did make it to the White House — Truman, Kennedy, and Johnson — were militant anti-Communists and military hawks who on national-security issues held views indistinguishable from those of Republicans.
Given that the most durable lesson of postwar electoral history was that Democrats win national elections on domestic policy and that Republicans win on national security, it seems incomprehensible that the Obama administration has been able to degrade American power virtually without Republican opposition. At the Republican party’s 2012 convention in Tampa, its nominee, Mitt Romney, failed to mention the Islamic jihad and devoted only one sentence to the fact that, in order to appease America’s enemies, Obama had thrown Israel, America’s only dependable ally in the region, “under the bus.” Romney did not mention Obama’s role as enabler of the Muslim Brotherhood or the millions of dollars his administration had given to the Palestinian jihadists on the West Bank and in Gaza, whose official goal was the destruction of Israel and its Jews. He did not mention the calls by the Islamist leaders of Egypt and Iran for the destruction of the Jewish state and the completion of the job that Hitler started.
Romney devoted exactly two sentences to Obama’s appeasement of the Russians and his abandonment of America’s Eastern European allies, which were harmed by the president’s reneging on America’s commitments to their missile defense. About the Korean peninsula, a flashpoint in national security and a theater for the current administration’s diplomatic dithering, Romney said nothing.
While Romney failed to confront a vulnerable Obama on national-security issues and gave Obama a pass on his shameful betrayal of his embassy in Benghazi, no other Republican campaign was likely to make the holy war that Islamists are waging against us, and Obama’s feckless national-security policies, a focal point of their attack. At one time or another, there were ten Republican candidates for the nomination that Romney won. Each of them participated in at least three of 20 public debates; two of the candidates participated in all of them. There were candidates for social conservatism, candidates for fiscal responsibility and job creation, candidates for libertarian principles and moderate values. But there was not one Republican candidate whose campaign was an aggressive assault on Obama’s disastrous national-security decisions and how they had imperiled America’s interests and its basic safety.
The extent of the Republican retreat on national security was dramatized by an incident that took place a few months before the election. In a letter to the Justice Department’s inspector general, Representative Michele Bachmann and four other Republican House members asked him to look into the possibility of Islamist influence in the Obama administration. The letter expressed concern about State Department policies that “appear to be a result of influence operations conducted by individuals and organizations associated with the Muslim Brotherhood.” The letter then listed five specific ways in which Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had actively assisted the Muslim Brotherhood’s ascent to power in Egypt, producing in the Middle East a decisive shift toward the jihadist enemies of the United States.
The letter specifically asked for an inquiry into the activities of Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton’s deputy chief of staff and principal adviser on Muslim affairs. It was a reasonable, indeed a necessary, request. Members of Abedin’s family — her late father, her mother, and her brother — were all identifiable leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood. For twelve years prior to being hired by Hillary Clinton, Abedin herself had worked for an organization founded by Abdullah Omar Naseef — a major Brotherhood figure, a close associate of Abedin’s mother — one of the three principal financiers of Osama bin Laden, and a man dedicated to promoting Islamic-supremacist doctrines. A second figure with Muslim Brotherhood ties occupying a high place in the Obama administration was Rashad Hussain, deputy associate White House counsel, who had responsibilities in the areas of national security and Muslim affairs. And there were others.