December 18, 2015
After the latest Republican presidential debate, the Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin argued that Sen. Ted Cruz had undone himself "courting" the "Trumpkin base," sinking "further into the far-right brew of isolationism and xenophobia." And to prove this contention, Rubin grabbed hold of two words Cruz used, "America" and "first," to claim that the senator from Texas was signaling support for 1930s/'40s-style isolationism.
This is a pretty popular accusation on the hawkish right. Marco Rubio has also called Cruz an isolationist. Having watched the debate, though, I think, as Donald Trump might complain, it is unfair. What I heard was not a case for isolationism but one against Middle Eastern democracy building—a project that's been a persistent and bloody failure, one that's sidetracked foreign policy from its "first" task, which is defeating the enemy.
You can certainly disagree with my assessment, but I'm relatively sure that merely holding a skeptical view of entanglements in the Middle East doesn't make anyone a potential America First Committee recruit. Yet here's the American Enterprise Institute's Danielle Pletka quoted in Rubin's piece: "Good for Ted Cruz for being honest. He doesn't want to be anywhere in the world, doesn't want America to lead, and harkening back to the likes of Pat Buchanan and Charles Lindbergh is truth in advertising for him."
Read the full article at Reason.com: The 'Isolationist' Smear Against Ted Cruz