James Traub's Elitist Ignorance

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What James Traub doesn't know much about Tim Pawlenty's foreign policy.

It's so boringly predictable when elite foreign policy writers and critics of the Republicans - but I repeat myself - who generally pay exactly zero attention to the candidates on the right in between election cycles, gloss over differences in policy and experience in the interests of furthering their biases about the right. It's an inevitable experience every four years: the Republican candidate is painted as a naive, blunt rube, with none of the sophistication and insight on global engagement of the savvy, worldly Democrat.

Of course, if the right's weakness is generally blunt swagger, the left's is wavering incoherence. Democratic presidents are just as capable of making serious mistakes as Republicans in their approach to global affairs, and an attitude of denial to go with it. But no matter: forget their actual travel or policy experience - this is the way things are.

Comes now James Traub with another tiresome little "Republicans are stupid and incoherent" essay, in this case regarding Tim Pawlenty. Traub peers down his nose at the former Minnesota governor's recent appearance at the Council on Foreign Relations to share his foreign policy views. "The very fact that Pawlenty chose to deliver the speech in the sanctum sanctorum of the foreign policy establishment rather than at, say, the Heritage Foundation, constituted a rebuke to the yahoos in the party," Traub writes.

Actually, Pawlenty is continuing his "speaking truths in unfriendly venues" tour, which took him to Iowa to denounce ethanol subsidies, Florida to call for Medicare reform, Washington to blast current entitlement policy, and Wall Street to call for financial reform. His speech to CFR was not intended to cater to the elite, but to achieve note from the Republican base by disagreeing with the establishments' views in its own house. But of course, Traub cannot be expected to pay attention to this.

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