I share Graham’s macro fear of an isolationist America permitting Hitler-like characters to rise and roam the world. It has happened before and it can happen again.
But it is my sense that the senator is laying this danger excessively on the tea party members and movement. In fact, the trend away from a fully muscular, assertive, free trade GOP has been unfolding for years. And that trend has paralleled (or followed) the shifting attitudes of the base GOP electorate.
This is not to say that the GOP is isolationist. Rather, it is to suggest that the inartful and questionable military ventures of the U.S. in the last 50 years have driven both GOP members and voters to want to make a case-by-case assessment of what the U.S. role should be. Likewise, merely invoking principles of free trade no longer convince typical GOP voters that any trade deal is in our interest…
The clarity of Americans divided between hawks and doves is fading. We are entering the more ambiguous age of owls and vultures. Effective foreign policy arguments will take heed of these, perhaps unfortunate, developments.