The Bush-hater's case for Jeb Bush

Bush has already had an occasion to distance himself from James Baker, after the old foreign policy hand gave a tough, anti-Benjamin Netanyahu speech to the dovish Israeli advocacy group J Street. But it is clear that Jeb Bush at least respects his non-neoconservative foreign policy advisers.

That may not be true of his chief competition in the GOP primary, namely Marco Rubio and Scott Walker. Rubio is close with Robert Kagan, Jamie Fly, and Elliot Abrams, all member’s of Bill Kristol’s post-Bush Foreign Policy Initiative. Fly is particularly notable for his advocacy of regime change in Iran, a position Bush has distanced himself from. Rubio is the candidate who most explicitly ties himself to the Bush formulation that American ideals and interests should be aligned — that America’s foreign policy should be aimed at liberating and democratizing its enemies.

A funny thing happens when a GOP candidate doesn’t really know much about foreign policy. He becomes a favorite of the most hawkish advisers. That’s how the neoconservative Randy Scheunemann got so hooked into Sarah Palin. And so it’s no surprise that Walker, the candidate in need of the most tutoring on foreign policy, had this said about him: “Of all the people identified as candidates, Walker strikes me as the most interesting, who potentially would bring some rare qualities to the presidency.”