So I’m writing a piece about neoconservatism for the mag and Rich suggested I take a look at what John Patrick Diggins has to say in his new bio of Reagan. (Rich wrote a thoughtful review for the New York Times a month or so ago). It was a good suggestion. According to Diggins the Gipper disagreed sharply with his neocon advisors (which seems to include all of the strong anti-Communists around him) and the neocons were wrong about just about everything. Some of it strikes me as useful and informed correction but much of it strikes me as tendentious, odd or as ill-advised attempts to find the roots of the Iraq war in the Reagan Administration. I thought to myself: I wonder what Peter Robinson or Steve Hayward or the entire constellation of folks at Commentary and The Weekly Standard have to say about all of this? And, from what I can tell the answer is: absolutely nothing. George Will, Jim Pinkerton and Rich wrote about Diggins’s book and that’s about it (Will loved it, oddly) . Pinkerton takes a shot or two — at the neocons — but basically nobody has pushed back on Diggins’ frontal assault on them (the folks at Bench Memos briefly chatted about a different aspect of Diggins’ and Wills’ argument as did Joe Knippenberg ). And, from what I can tell from trolling in Nexis and elsewhere, virtually no liberals have pounced on Diggins’ anti-Neocon assault either, which you’d assume they be grateful to do.
I’m not sure why, but I think it’s interesting.