Tom Campbell, Superhawk Cont'd - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Tom Campbell, Superhawk Cont’d

Daniel Larison responds that whatever he once was, Tom Campbell is a “reliable hawk” now. But what he once was is an important part of this debate. To say that the criticism of Campbell is an example of hawks purging one of their own is akin to arguing that skeptical pro-lifers were purging one of their own when they criticized Mitt Romney. Like Romney’s pro-life stance, Campbell’s “hawkishness” is an attempt to align himself more closely with majority Republican sentiment in a competitive primary. And also like Romney, though to a lesser extent, Campbell is taking positions that are at odds with the ones he has taken in the past.

Campbell was actually a leader of the opposition to the Kosovo war. He was a champion of easing economic sanctions against Iraq. Although his record on Israel and other questions isn’t as one-sided as some of his critics allege, Campbell continued to be more dovish than the median Republican up through the Iraq war. He was probably roughly comparable to Chuck Hagel, which wouldn’t be good enough for Larison (or for me) but would still be plenty bad enough for, say, Commentary.

As for Scott Brown, it’s true that he left foreign policy off his campaign website entirely. But Brown did go after Martha Coakley on civilian trials for terror detainees. And he did campaign pretty openly as a supporter of the Iraq war and the Afghan surge — the latter a policy Larison supports and I oppose, perhaps showing the limits of using the words “hawk” and “dove” generically.

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