Most of the political news today is focused on the McCain staff shakeup. The departures of Terry Nelson and John Weaver are noteworthy, but the biggest news is the end of Mark Salter’s official employment with McCain. Salter has reportedly walked McCain through every significant decision he’s made and the two recently co-authored their fifth book together.
Honestly, though, I’m more interested in the Giuliani campaign news today.
My organization doesn’t endorse presidential candidates, so I’m speaking only for myself here. But boy, ever since he began his run for the presidency, Giuliani has been trying really, really hard to position himself as the “strong against terror candidate,” playing on his resume and compensating for his moderation on social issues.
I’ve been very worried that Giuliani would build on that identity by laying out a highly pugnacious, nationalist, fear-based, and unilateral foreign policy. Now it’s starting to take shape.
Sources tell me that Giuliani has looked to John Bolton in the early stages of his campaign for foreign policy advice; people at the NY Observer seem to have heard similar things. Not promising.
Giuliani put out a press release today that indicates that his campaign will be heading further in this direction:
“The Rudy Giuliani Presidential Committee announced today several members of Mayor Giuliani’s foreign policy team. The team will advise the Mayor on a foreign policy vision that advances the United States as a world leader, while expanding America’s involvement in the global economy, strengthening our reputation around the world, and keeping our country on the offense in the Terrorists’ War on Us.
Senior foreign policy team members include Norman Podhoretz and Senator Bob Kasten. Other team members include Steve Rosen, Senior Defense Advisor; Martin Kramer, Senior Middle East Advisor; S. Enders Wimbush, Senior Public Diplomacy Advisor; Peter Berkowitz, Senior Statecraft, Human Rights and Freedom Advisor; and Kim R. Holmes, a Senior Foreign Policy Advisor.”
First, “Keeping our country on the offense in the Terrorists’ War on Us” is a tagline straight out of the Rove “fear frame” playbook, designed to scare voters and put down the comprehensive, thoughtful policies we need in an interconnected world. Plus, Mr. Mayor and staff, we get that it’s a message point you want to drive home; do you really have to capitalize it every time you write it out?
Bob Kasten, one of Giuliani’s “Senior foreign policy team members” used the UN as a political football throughout his career in the Senate and was ultimately defeated by Russ Feingold for his far-out views. Kasten supported aiding the Indonesian military during its violent occupation of East Timor, started the myth that the UN Population Fund supports forced abortion, and argued that countries should be stripped of aid if they do not vote in lockstep with the U.S. in the UN General Assembly.
The other senior foreign policy team member? None other than Norm Podhoretz, the longtime Commentary editor who recently suggested that we’d be nuts not to immediately bomb Iran.
This campaign is getting scarier by the second.
— Scott Paul