With the op-ed declaration in Wednesday's New York Times by former Bush foreign policy hand Eliot A. Cohen that "On foreign policy, Hillary Clinton is far better" than Donald Trump, the list of Hawks for Hillary has officially become too large for handy memorization. So to keep a running tab, as well as highlight some common themes within the genre, here's a handy guide to your conservative (or conservative-friendly) military interventionists who would rather vote for Hillary Clinton than the Republican nominee.
These are by no means the only righties in the #NeverTrump club, as this post of mine from last fall details, and their critiques of the presumptive GOP nominee mirror several of my own. But the rise of this cadre is at least a half-fulfillment of a prediction I made in 2013 and again in 2015: that neocons-for-Hillary would become a thing.
Without further ado, here are some members of Hillary's unusual (if predictable) new fanclub. Please leave other nominees in the comments:
Name: Eliot A. Cohen
Foreign policy resume: Director of the Strategic Studies Program at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, former State Department counselor (2007-2009), co-founder of the Project for the New American Century, member of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, author of the forthcoming book The Big Stick: The Limits of Soft Power and the Necessity of Military Force.
Supported wars in: The world. As in, "World War IV."
Why #NeverTrump: "Trump's temperament, his proclivity for insult and deceit and his advocacy of unpredictability will make him a presidential disaster — especially in the conduct of foreign policy, where clarity and consistency matter."
Declaration of nose-holding: "On foreign policy, Hillary Clinton is far better: She believes in the old consensus and will take tough lines on China and, increasingly, Russia. She does not hesitate to make the case for human rights as a key part of America's foreign policy."
Third-party fantasia: "[M]ost of us hope for a third candidate whose character we can trust, with domestic programs we can support."
Bonus melodrama: "The hour is late, the task is urgent, and the cause is great. Let us hope that some politicians will summon the courage that the country requires, and act."
Name: Robert Kagan
Foreign policy resume: Senior Brookings Institution fellow at the Project on International Order and Strategy, member of the Council on Foreign Relations, former foreign policy advisor to presidential candidate John McCain and former Rep. Jack Kemp; co-founder of the Project for the New American Century, former speechwriter for Secretary of State George Schultz, author of The World America Made, The Return of History and the End of Dreams, and Of Paradise and Power: America and Europe in the New World Order.
Why #NeverTrump: "This is how fascism comes to America."
Declaration of nose-holding: "So what to do now? The Republicans' creation will soon be let loose on the land, leaving to others the job the party failed to carry out. For this former Republican, and perhaps for others, the only choice will be to vote for Hillary Clinton. The party cannot be saved, but the country still can be."
Learning to love Big Brother: "There are those who merely hope to survive. Their consciences won't let them curry favor so shamelessly, so they mumble their pledges of support, like the victims in Stalin's show trials, perhaps not realizing that the leader and his followers will get them in the end anyway."
Bonus Greek drama: "When the plague descended on Thebes, Oedipus sent his brother-in-law to the Delphic oracle to discover the cause. Little did he realize that the crime for which Thebes was being punished was his own. Today's Republican Party is our Oedipus."
Name: Bret Stephens
Foreign policy resume: Foreign affairs columnist and deputy editorial page editor of the Wall Street Journal, former editor in chief of the Jerusalem Post, author of America in Retreat: The New Isolationism and the Coming Global Disorder.
Why #NeverTrump: "Trumpism isn't just a triumph of marketing or the excrescence of a personality cult. It is a regression to the conservatism of blood and soil, of ethnic polarization and bullying nationalism. Modern conservatives sought to bury this rubbish with a politics that strikes a balance between respect for tradition and faith in the dynamic and culture-shifting possibilities of open markets. When that balance collapses—under a Republican president, no less—it may never again be restored, at least in our lifetimes."
Declaration of nose-holding: "The best hope for what's left of a serious conservative movement in America is the election in November of a Democratic president, held in check by a Republican Congress."
The Obama parallel: "One man wants to shrink America's role in the world for the sake of a bigger state; the other man for the sake of shrinking the debt. In either case, the prescription is to put America in retreat."
Bonus self-reflection: "It would be terrible to think that the left was right about the right all these years."
Name: Max Boot
Foreign policy resume: Military historian, Jeane J. Kirkpatrick senior fellow in National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, foreign policy advisor to the John McCain presidential campaign, author of The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power.
Supported wars in: Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, Libya, Syria.
Why #NeverTrump: "Far from strengthening America, he is emerging as the number one threat to American security. Yes, that's right — a bigger threat than ISIS, North Korea, Russia, China, Iran, or all the rest. That may sound like hyperbole, but I firmly believe it to be the case. The possibility of Trump — a man who knows no more about national security than Kim Kardashian does — taking control of the nuclear codes is simply terrifying."
Declaration of nose-holding: "Hillary Clinton is a centrist Democrat who is more hawkish than President Obama and far more principled and knowledgeable about foreign affairs than Trump, who is too unstable and erratic to be entrusted with the nuclear triad he has never heard of. Even in his prepared foreign policy speech couldn't pronounce 'Tanzania.' For all her shortcomings (and there are many), Clinton would be far preferable to Trump."
Third-party fantasia: "Perhaps a third party will arise as a vehicle for the 37% of conservatives who said in a recent poll that they have an unfavorable opinion of Trump. I would support it, because a third-party candidate could take away votes from Trump and make clear that he is not an authentic voice of conservatism."
Bonus WTFery: "I would sooner vote for Josef Stalin than I would vote for Donald Trump."
Name: Mark Salter
Foreign policy resume: Longtime speechwriter for, co-author with, and alter-ego of Sen. John McCain. Former aide to Jeane Kirkpatrick.
Why #NeverTrump: "Nothing anyone could reveal about Trump could get me to change my opinion that he's an asshole….a cartoon villain, a fake, a cheat, a liar, a creep, a bullying, bragging, bullshitting, blowhard kind of asshole….There have been lots of candidates in the past I've disagreed with, even loathed. There's only one I've wanted to punch in the face."
Declaration of nose-holding: "I'm sure 10 minutes into Hillary Clinton's inaugural address I'll sort of be disappointed….[But] her foreign policy would probably be a modest to maybe substantial improvement over the incumbent…. I've never voted for a Democrat for president in my life. But she is the more conservative choice and the least reckless one."
Third-party fantasia: "It's possible that as much as a third of Republicans won't vote for him, especially if a conservative alternative runs independently."
Bonus insults from Trumpworld: "Because I professed dislike for my party's de facto nominee, I've been called a 'bitch' and a 'cuck,' whatever the hell that is. I was dismissed by another social media wit as one of the idiots who 'lost to the negro in 2008.' When I criticized another Republican candidate, I was labeled 'a corrupt cartel pig,' not by an overzealous supporter, but by his official spokesman."
So which hawks will join #ImWithHer next? Stay tuned to this space!