I’m not sure my party wants me as a member any more

Politico’s David Paul Kuhn writes about the dog not barking among GOP foreign policy heavyweights:  The acclaim for the vice presidential nominee is all but deafening within the GOP, except in one small but influential corner: the party’s foreign policy establishment. Among that mandarin class, the response to Palin’s nomination has been underwhelming, marked by distinctly ...

Politico's David Paul Kuhn writes about the dog not barking among GOP foreign policy heavyweights:  The acclaim for the vice presidential nominee is all but deafening within the GOP, except in one small but influential corner: the party’s foreign policy establishment. Among that mandarin class, the response to Palin’s nomination has been underwhelming, marked by distinctly faint praise or flat-out silence. Having chatted with a few members of this mandarin class, I would describe the range of opinion about Palin's foreign policy bona fides as varying from "underwhelmed" to "you gotta be f#$%ing kidding me?"  What's really disturbing, however, is this Bob Kagan quote: “I don’t take this elite foreign policy view that only this anointed class knows everything about the world," he said. "I’m not generally impressed that they are better judges of American foreign policy experience than those who have Palin’s experience.” This is one of those head-scratching comments when the only question is whether Kagan is being completely cynical or whether he actually believes that expertise is irrelevant.  Given the GOP attack line just three weeks ago was about Obama's inexperience, and given that Bob goes to the trouble of writing and researching actual books, I have to go with cynical.    Question to other GOP policy wonks:  is it possible to support a candidate that campaigns on the notion that expertise is simply irrelevant?  UPDATE:  In the comments, I'm seeing variations on the argument that Palin has as much foreign policy experience as Clinton or Bush did when they were elected.  One could quibble a bit with that, but it's not really the point.  The point is this:  foreign policy issues were not terribly important in either the 1992 nor 2000 elections.  Regardless of one's views of the candidates, does anyone seriously believe that the strategic environment in either 1992 or 2000 is akin to the situation we face today?

Politico’s David Paul Kuhn writes about the dog not barking among GOP foreign policy heavyweights: 

The acclaim for the vice presidential nominee is all but deafening within the GOP, except in one small but influential corner: the party’s foreign policy establishment. Among that mandarin class, the response to Palin’s nomination has been underwhelming, marked by distinctly faint praise or flat-out silence.

Having chatted with a few members of this mandarin class, I would describe the range of opinion about Palin’s foreign policy bona fides as varying from “underwhelmed” to “you gotta be f#$%ing kidding me?”  What’s really disturbing, however, is this Bob Kagan quote:

“I don’t take this elite foreign policy view that only this anointed class knows everything about the world,” he said. “I’m not generally impressed that they are better judges of American foreign policy experience than those who have Palin’s experience.”

This is one of those head-scratching comments when the only question is whether Kagan is being completely cynical or whether he actually believes that expertise is irrelevant.  Given the GOP attack line just three weeks ago was about Obama’s inexperience, and given that Bob goes to the trouble of writing and researching actual books, I have to go with cynical.    Question to other GOP policy wonks:  is it possible to support a candidate that campaigns on the notion that expertise is simply irrelevant?  UPDATE:  In the comments, I’m seeing variations on the argument that Palin has as much foreign policy experience as Clinton or Bush did when they were elected.  One could quibble a bit with that, but it’s not really the point.  The point is this:  foreign policy issues were not terribly important in either the 1992 nor 2000 elections.  Regardless of one’s views of the candidates, does anyone seriously believe that the strategic environment in either 1992 or 2000 is akin to the situation we face today?

Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at Tufts University’s Fletcher School. He blogged regularly for Foreign Policy from 2009 to 2014. Twitter: @dandrezner

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