Doves and realigners have the same enemies.
There are essentially two directions the nascent realignment in Republican politics can go: a brain-trust for a Marco Rubio presidential campaign or something like that, in which case it’s likely to go the way of “compassionate conservatism,” or an animating force in Congress in two years, in much the same way as small-government orthodoxy animated the Tea Party congressional wave. I’d prefer the latter, and Congressman Jim Banks being selected to lead the Republican Study Committee is a promising sign. But up until now, foreign policy has taken a backseat to domestic, so here are a few words in favor of prioritizing the former a little more.
I’d even go so far as to say that a willingness to break with the foreign policy consensus is the most credible sign that a realigner is willing to learn from the past. In all our talk about building a new elite, whether it generates a new foreign policy consensus is the way we’ll be able to tell if it’s in fact a new elite, rather than just a new cohort joining the old one. President Trump’s stance against the wars was extremely popular, even if his delivery was underwhelming, and his Republican enemies in Congress are also the most implacable defenders of the national security state. Listen to Jeff Sessions’s interview on TAC Right Now for what a politician sounds like when he’s actually learned something.