Sarah Palin has split with the neoconservative foreign policy strategists who had been advising her since she became the GOP's vice presidential candidate in 2008. Orion Strategies' Randy Scheunemann and Michael Goldfarb had helped Palin craft speeches advocating the aggressive use of U.S. military power abroad — an approach her new adviser, Hoover Institution fellow Peter Schweizer, views more skeptically. Is Palin really dumping neoconservatism for the more pragmatic, mainstream foreign policy she outlined in a speech this Monday?
Yes, but it won't do her any good: "Just as she has become irrelevant, Sarah Palin has started staking out less absurd foreign policy positions," says Daniel Larison at The American Conservative. And her more cautious approach, reflected in her opposition to U.S. involvement in the campaign against Moammar Gadhafi in Libya, definitely seems more to the liking of the rank-and-file Republicans she's courting. But abruptly changing course the minute she changes advisers doesn't inspire confidence that she's thinking for herself.
"Palin and Libya"
This signals a wider split in the GOP: Palin's transformation might be a sign of "an honest-to-goodness split" among Republicans over foreign policy, says Jonathan Bernstein at The Washington Post. The battle for the GOP presidential nomination is usually about who's toughest, but this time around, the isolationist, anti-neocon faction — which in 2008 consisted only of Ron Paul — will be "generously represented in GOP debates." And Palin's defection might be "something that actually matters," because she'll be a "significant voice" if she runs.
"Neocons on the defensive"
Calm down. Palin is not going soft: Neocon is just a word, says J.E. Dyer at Hot Air. What Palin's really doing here is spelling out a doctrine on the use of force, and she's saying we must only fight when our interests are at stake, and when we have clear objectives. She's really just moving closer to Ronald Reagan's approach, which was careful, but far from wimpy. "Palin apparently recognizes the need to talk about fundamentals — and love her or hate her, I don't see anyone else out there doing it."
"Palin outlines doctrine for use of force, picks new foreign policy adviser"