Neoconservatism has an uncanny ability of re-branding itself and adjusting to new political realities.
Previously, in the Bush and Obama eras, neocons relied on old fossils in Congress to promote their missionary ventures abroad. Eventually, the public grew tired of these neocon ventures and gravitated towards Donald Trump in 2016, largely due to his pro-immigration restriction and realist foreign policy campaign platform.
As a result of Trump’s unexpected electoral victory, neocons were compelled to sharpen their image. For the neocon crowd, they struck gold with former Navy Seal Dan Crenshaw.
Since he was elected in 2018, Crenshaw has continued the neoconservative legacy of the late Arizona Senator John McCain by being a fervent advocate of never-ending wars and the new fad of great power competition with Russia and China. But this time, his neocon advocacy comes with a flashier, eye-patched aesthetic.
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In the present geopolitical crisis involving Russia and Ukraine, the Texas Congressman has towed the neoconservative line. Crenshaw’s support for arming Ukraine to the teeth is well-documented. So much so that Fox News host Tucker Carlson has had choice words for the Texas Congressman in light of the recent passage of a monstrous $40 billion military aid bill for Ukraine. Crenshaw was one of the 149 Republicans who voted for this military aid bill.
During a recent segment of his nightly show, Carlson called Crenshaw “eye patch McCain”, referring to the eye patch he uses after losing any eye to an improvised explosive device.
Carlson’s show was focused on attacking Crenshaw for his hawkish legislative behavior and his lack of focus on pressing domestic issues.
“Why is Congress so focused on Ukraine but you can’t find baby formula, you can’t even fill your truck because things in our economy are declining really rapidly,” Carlson declared. “Don’t ask questions, according to Congressman Dan Crenshaw of Texas, asking questions like that, really any questions at all, thinking you’re a citizen, makes you pro-Russia.”
“The more I think about it, it takes a lot of gall for eye patch McCain to attack moms who are worried about baby formula as pro-Russia,” Carlson added. “That is probably one of the most outrageous things I have ever heard now that I am thinking about it. Why not just answer the question, why the attacks? What does that tell you?”
Carlson nails it here. You don’t have to be a fan of Vladimir Putin to recognize that funding a proxy war against Russia is a boneheaded idea that will lead to further escalation and loss of life in Ukraine. Going ever more zealous on the issue could potentially see US ground forces be deployed to Ukraine.
In sum, the US needs to sit this conflict out and recognize that sphere of influence style geopolitical maneuvering is now becoming the new normal in world affairs.
As long as the US has a massive nuclear arsenal and counts on two massive moats in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, it will be secure from external threats. Tucker Carlson understands this, unlike neocon luminaries such as Dan Crenshaw.
The GOP needs more people with Carlson’s mindset if it wants to truly become an America First party that serves the interests of Middle America.