Cruz’s neocon national security nexus: Neoconservatives and neoconspiracy-theorists

Good morning Austin:

Yesterday, a pro-Hillary Clinton super PAC put out an ad mocking Donald Trump’s statement on Morning Joe Wednesday that when it comes to foreign policy advice, he talks to himself.

But then Ted Cruz unveiled his national security advisory team – a kind of all-star NEOCON blend, with neocon here referring to both neoconservatives who held sway with George W. Bush, and neoconspiracy-theorists, who believe that Barack Obama is a secret Marxist and jihadist bent on destroying America, imposing Sharia law and creating, through Obamacare, his own militia of American Brownshirts.

From Eric Levitz at New York Magazine

On Wednesday, Donald Trump was asked whom he consults with on matters of foreign policy. “I’m speaking with myself, No. 1, because I have a very good brain and I’ve said a lot of things,” Trump replied.

So, Trump’s top national-security adviser — his own reflection shouting back at him from a mirror — doesn’t inspire much confidence. Ted Cruz’s top national-security adviser inspires even less.

On Thursday, Cruz revealed his national-security advisory team. The first name on the list? Frank “Obama is a Muslim” Gaffney, Bloomberg reports. Gaffney is the Joe McCarthy of Islamophobia. His think tank, the Center for Security Policy, is dedicated to raising awareness about the jihadist infiltration of the American government. For Gaffney, Barack Hussein Obama is but the tip of the iceberg — in truth, the Muslim Brotherhood has placed operatives throughout the federal government. Among their top agents: Clinton adviser Huma Abedin and anti-tax zealot Grover Norquist. In conservative circles, it’s one thing to accuse liberals with foreign-sounding names of “stealth jihad.” It’s quite another to say the same of a white male libertarian who has devoted his life to the noble cause of widening the income gap. After Gaffney wrote a full book on Norquist’s alleged sharia schemes, he was banned from the 2011 Conservative Political Action Conference. (The strongest verifiable evidence of Norquist’s jihadist sympathies appears to be that his wife is a Muslim-American).

From Eli Lake at Bloomberg:

The first name on the advisory list that stands out is Frank Gaffney, a former Reagan administration Pentagon official who has emerged as a lightning rod in the Obama era, accused by the Southern Poverty Law Center of being one of the nation’s leading Islamophobes.

 When Trump proposed a temporary ban on all Muslim immigration, he quoted from a 2015 survey of American Muslims commissioned by the think tank Gaffney founded, the Center for Security Policy. It concluded that a quarter of U.S. Muslims supported violent jihad against the U.S. This led to speculation in the Washington press that Gaffney was advising Trump.

But Gaffney is a Cruz man. In an interview, he said that he met Cruz when he was running for Senate in 2012, and that he has briefed him on the FBI’s investigation into a Muslim Brotherhood-linked charity known as the Holy Land Foundation and on how Sharia law is a threat to America. “I hope that some of that went into his decision to introduce legislation to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization,” Gaffney said.

Until this year, these views were considered radioactive by the Republican establishment. George W. Bush, after Sept. 11, famously appeared at a Washington mosque and declared that Islam was a religion of peace. Senator John McCain, when he was his party’s presidential nominee in 2008, famously rebuked a talk-radio host for calling his challenger “Barack Hussein Obama,” a dog whistle to the president’s Arabic middle name. In 2012, the campaign of Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, spurned Gaffney and other conservatives who warned that Sharia was a domestic threat.  

This time around it’s a little different. As Cruz makes the case that he is the last, best chance to prevent Trump from winning his party’s nomination, his foreign-policy advisers include not only Gaffney, but also three others who work for Gaffney’s think tank: former CIA officers Fred Fleitz and Clare Lopez and former Army Special Forces Master Sergeant Jim Hanson. Also on the list is Andrew McCarthy, a former assistant U.S. attorney who prosecuted the first World Trade Center bombing. McCarthy has been outspoken in his view that adherents at least to political Islam are seeking to impose Sharia law in the U.S.

At the same time, Cruz’s team includes former officials who reject Gaffney’s broad view that any Muslim who believes in Sharia law by definition believes in a totalitarian and violent ideology at war with America.

Here, from October 2008, is Gaffney in the Washington Times, just before Obama’s election in 2004, in which,  years before the King of the Birthers Trump, he takes up the birther cause, and also suggests that a significant portion of Obama’s small donor base were foreign Islamists:

— A Federal Election Commission (FEC) employee has reportedly been warning for months about evidence that the Obama campaign has received as much as $200 million almost half of his total donations, in amounts less than $200. That is below the threshold for donor information Mr. Obama has chose to report to the FEC – unlike the Clinton and McCain campaigns which have reported all donor information.

Of the $200 million, between $30 million and $100 million are from the Mideast, Africa and other places Islamists adre active. It is unclear whether – as seems likely – these funds come not only from Wahhabis, Muslim Brotherhood types and jihadists of other stripes but from non-U.S. citizens. Such contributions would be not only worrying but illegal.

Although the FEC has studiously ignored the problem to date, the matter finally appears to be the subject of a formal complaint by the Republican National Committee. Unfortunately, even if the commission finally bestirs itself to investigate the facts, it seems unlikely to render a finding before the jihadists’ and others’ votes are counted.

— Another question yet to be resolved is whether Mr. Obama is a natural born citizen of the United States, a prerequisite pursuant to the U.S. Constitution. There is evidence Mr. Obama was born in Kenya rather than, as he claims, Hawaii. There is also a registration document for a school in Indonesia where the would-be president studied for four years, on which he was identified not only as a Muslim but as an Indonesian. If correct, the latter could give rise to another potential problem with respect to his eligibility to be president.

Curiously, Mr. Obama has, to date, failed to provide an authentic birth certificate which could clear up the matter.

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The next three weeks afford the American people – and the media, the courts and the FEC – an opportunity to get to the bottom of Barack Obama’s ties to and affinity for jihadists who have their own reasons for relishing his promise of “change” for this country. Unfortunately, the change his Islamists supporters have in mind is for global theocratic rule under Shariah, and the end of our constitutional, democratic government.

And here he was, in February 2010, writing at Breitbart

Now, thanks to an astute observation by Christopher Logan of the Logans Warning blog, we have another possible explanation for behavior that — in the face of rapidly growing threats posed by North Korean, Iranian, Russian, Chinese and others’ ballistic missiles — can only be described as treacherous and malfeasant: Team Obama’s anti-anti-missile initiatives are not simply acts of unilateral disarmament of the sort to be expected from an Alinsky acolyte. They seem to fit an increasingly obvious and worrying pattern of official U.S. submission to Islam and the theo-political-legal program the latter’s authorities call Shariah.

What could be code-breaking evidence of the latter explanation is to be found in the newly-disclosed redesign of the Missile Defense Agency logo (above). As Logan helpfully shows, the new MDA shield appears ominously to reflect a morphing of the Islamic crescent and star with the Obama campaign logo.

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 6.46.54 AM

Even as the administration has lately made a show of rushing less capable sea- and land-based short-range (theater) missile defenses into the Persian Gulf in the face of rising panic there about Iran’s actual/incipient ballistic missile and nuclear capabilities, Team Obama is behaving in a way that — as the new MDA logo suggests — is all about accommodating that “Islamic Republic” and its ever-more aggressive stance.

Watch this space as we identify and consider various, ominous and far more clear-cut acts of submission to Shariah by President Obama and his team. Readers are encouraged to offer examples of their own to info@securefreedom.org.

Then there was Gaffney’s claim that Saddam Hussein might be implicated in the Oklahoma City bombing.

From Haaretz:

In 2009, Gaffney told his incredulous hosts on MSNC’s Hardball that there was some “pretty compelling circumstantial evidence” that Iraq under late dictator Hussein had a hand in the 1995 attack.

“He [Saddam] kept saying he was going to try to get even against us for Desert Storm, so it wouldn’t be unreasonable for people to conclude maybe that that’s what he was doing,” Gaffney said, adding in the same breath that the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center may also have been Iraq’s handiwork.

There’s more.

Then there’s  Lt. General William G. “Jerry” Boykin

From Right Wing Watch:

Last year, Retired General Jerry Boykin recorded a video for Rick Joyner’s Oak Initiative in which he claimed that President Obama was using healthcare reform legislation as cover to establish a private Brownshirt army loyal only to him.

We have incrementally moved towards Marxism and now I think it’s at an accelerated pace. There are lots of indicators as to exactly how we’re moving along the lines of the Marxist model – if you look back historically at how societies, what they’ve done as they’ve moved toward Marxism, we’re doing all of those things.

One of which is, you look at Hitler – and one of the most disgusting things I hear is people who call Hitler “the extreme right.” The absolute opposite was true – it was the National Socialist Party, he was an extraordinarily off-the-scale leftist. But many Jews in America, for example, can’t identify with the Republican Party because they’re called the party of the right and they equate that to Hitler when in fact nothing could be further from the truth. So, that’s just a data point.

One of the things that Hitler did was he established the Brownshirts. The Brownshirts where his constabulary force to control the population because, as you’re making these radical changes, there has to be some entity that stands by you with the strength and the muscle to allow you to make these over the opposition and the protest of the sovereign, the people. So Hitler had the Brownshirts.

Well, in the lead-up to the election, during the campaigns, our current president said very openly, and you can find it on YouTube, if I am elected President , I will have a national civilian security force that is as large as and as powerful as the US military.

For what? Why do you need a national civilian security force?

Now most people say, well we haven’t seen any signs of the administration doing that. Until you go back and read what nobody in Washington read, and that’s the health care legislation that lays out a provision for the commissioning of officers to work directly for the President in time of a national emergency.

Now what would bring about a national emergency? An economic collapse, a terrorist attack, a natural disaster – we talked about all those things here – which would then allow for martial law. The foundation has been laid.

And here, from the Los Angeles Times in 2003, is Boykin talking about Islam and Satan:

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon has assigned the task of tracking down and eliminating Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein and other high-profile targets to an Army general who sees the war on terrorism as a clash between Judeo-Christian values and Satan.

Lt. Gen. William G. “Jerry” Boykin, the new deputy undersecretary of Defense for intelligence, is a much-decorated and twice-wounded veteran of covert military operations. From the bloody 1993 clash with Muslim warlords in Somalia chronicled in “Black Hawk Down” and the hunt for Colombian drug czar Pablo Escobar to the ill-fated attempt to rescue American hostages in Iran in 1980, Boykin was in the thick of things.

Yet the former commander and 13-year veteran of the Army’s top-secret Delta Force is also an outspoken evangelical Christian who appeared in dress uniform and polished jump boots before a religious group in Oregon in June to declare that radical Islamists hated the United States “because we’re a Christian nation, because our foundation and our roots are Judeo-Christian … and the enemy is a guy named Satan.”

Discussing the battle against a Muslim warlord in Somalia, Boykin told another audience, “I knew my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God and his was an idol.”

So, one would expect that this should cement Cruz’s standing with the Jade Helm set.

Right?

Well, not really, because whatever good will he may gain with the addition of the neo-conspiracy-theorists to his inner circle is spoiled by the presence of all those old-fashioned neocons.

And Stone has been a frequent guest of late on Alex Jones’ Infowars, with Jones concluding that Cruz is one of them, not one of us.

Jones to Cruz: “You’re an operatives, just as sure as the sun came up, and we’re coming after you.”

Much better Trump, who has said that President George W. Bush misled the nation into a terrible mistake in Iraq, than Cruz who,  with the exit of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, is now surrounding himself with many of the neocon architects of that war.

From Derek Davison at the progressive Common Dreams.

Cruz has assembled a collection of some of the most prominent Islamophobes in American right-wing circles and balanced them with a group of neoconservatives who only want to go to war against part of the Islamic world, not all of it.

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To be fair to Cruz, his team also includes less conspiratorially minded neocons like Elliott Abrams, who has opposed diplomacy with Iran (he’d prefer a war, thank you very much) and supports stronger intervention in Syria. But Abrams does not believe that America is at war with Islam or that nefarious Muslim agents have infiltrated the federal government at all levels. It also includes former Reagan administration official Michael Ledeen, who told Lake that “We’re at war with a coalition of radical Islamists and radical secularists. It’s not all one thing, nor is Islam all one thing.” Ledeen is perhaps best known for devising the “Ledeen Doctrine,” which, as related by National Review’s Jonah Goldberg in 2002, goes like this:

Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business.

I doubt Ledeen would say that the 2011 Libyan intervention qualifies, so that means the United States is long overdue for throwing “some small crappy little country” against the wall. One can only imagine which country a President Cruz, with Ledeen at his side, would pick.

Ledeen, who served for many years as the “Freedom Scholar” at the right-wing American Enterprise Institute before taking the same position at the neocon Foundation for Defense of Democracies, is at least as toxic as Gaffney. He was involved in the Iran-Contra affair during the Reagan administration and was a key advisor to Karl Rove during the George W. Bush years, advocating for the invasion of Iraq and for war with Iran. Ledeen even brings his own conspiratorial baggage. In the 1980s, he was known for pushing the “Bulgarian Connection,” the theory that the KGB was behind Mehmet Ali Agca’s attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II in 1981. In 2003, Ledeen speculated that French and German opposition to the Iraq War was all part of a deal they’d struck with “radical Islam” to weaken the United States.

Not that long ago, this might have all seemed an unlikely turn of events.

From Jonah Goldberg at National Review way back in January.

In interviews and on the stump, Senator Ted Cruz likes to attack President Obama, Hillary Clinton, and “some of the more aggressive Washington neocons” for their support of regime change in the Middle East.

Every time we topple a dictator, Cruz argues, we end up helping terrorists or extremists. He has a point. But what interests me is his use of the word “neocon.”

What does he really mean? Some see dark intentions.

“He knows that the term in the usual far-left and far-right parlance means warmonger, if not warmongering Jewish advisers, so it is not something he should’ve done,” former George W. Bush advisor Elliott Abrams told National Review.

Another former Bush adviser calls the term “a dog whistle.”

I think that’s all a bit overblown. Cruz is just trying to criticize his opponent Marco Rubio, who supported regime change in Libya. There’s little daylight between the two presidential contenders on foreign policy, and this gives Cruz an opening for attack.

But Abrams is right — and Cruz surely knows — that for many people “neocon” has become code for suspiciously Hebraic super-hawk. It’s an absurd distortion.

At first, neocons weren’t particularly associated with foreign policy. They were intellectuals disillusioned by the folly of the Great Society.

As Irving Kristol famously put it, a “neoconservative is a liberal who was mugged by reality and wants to press charges.” The Public Interest, the first neoconservative publication, co-edited by Kristol, was a wonkish domestic-policy journal. Kristol later argued that neoconservatism was not an ideology but a “persuasion.”

William F. Buckley, the avatar of supposedly authentic traditional conservatism, agreed. The neocons, he explained, brought the new language of sociology to an intellectual tradition that had been grounded more in Aristotelian thinking.

The neocon belief in democracy promotion grew out of disgust with Richard Nixon’s détente and Jimmy Carter’s fecklessness, but it hardly amounted to knee-jerk interventionism. When Jeane Kirkpatrick articulated a theory of neoconservative foreign policy in Commentary magazine in 1979, she cautioned that it was unwise to demand rapid liberalization in autocratic countries, and that gradual change was a more realistic goal than immediate transformation.

During the Cold War, neocons weren’t any more hawkish than anyone else on the right. They were advocating containment of the Soviet Union while National Review conservatives were demanding “rollback” and Barry Goldwater was talking about nuking the Kremlin.

 Even through the late 1990s, neocons were far from outliers in their belief that the United States should use its military power to support democracies abroad. Many members of both parties held that view. Remember, it was Bill Clinton who in 1998 signed the Iraq Liberation Act calling for regime change. After 9/11, some neoconservative intellectuals had off-the-shelf foreign policy ready for George W. Bush — which, yes, was hawkish in nature, but other Republicans and even Democrats supported their prescriptions, at least at first.

As the Iraq War went south, the neocons were the only ones left defending it, and so got all of the blame.

Well, that was then.

Now, as Cruz and Trump prepared to appear before AIPAC – the American Israel Public Affairs Committee – next week, Elliot Abrams is whispering in Cruz’s ear.

From Nicole Hemmer at U.S. News

One of the most confounding political developments of the past decade has been neoconservatism’s grip on the Republican Party. The catastrophic Iraq War should have driven its architects into the wilderness. But the party’s blanket opposition to the Obama administration gave them a way back in. Since Obama governed as a pragmatic realist, Republicans granted the neocons a reprieve.

Which is not to say neoconservatives had an iron-lock on the GOP. For a brief period after the 2012 election, the party experienced a libertarian moment, one that extended to foreign policy. Two 2016 candidates, Sens. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, capitalized on the shift in public opinion to push hard for Republican non-intervention. When Paul launched his 13-hour filibuster of American drone policy in 2013, Cruz was there by his side – a partnership that caused Sen. John McCain to dismiss them as “wacko birds.”

But with the rise of the Islamic State group, the Republican affection for nonintervention dissolved overnight. The neocon consensus came roaring back: boots on the ground in Syria, the silent treatment in Tehran, sanctions against Russia. Better reckless than feckless.

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Enter Donald Trump.

Now, Trump is not what anyone would call a foreign-policy savant. He hews to no consistent ideology. (Consistency is not his strong point.) But he does have preferences. Thomas Wright sifted through decades of Trump’s statements for Politico to try to suss out a set of policies, arguing the Republican front-runner does in fact have “a remarkably coherent and consistent worldview.” While I wouldn’t go that far, it is clear that Trump offers a challenge to both noninterventionism and neoconservatism. It may not be an -ism, but it is an alternative.

Trump is all about bluster and strength, but has no real attachments to intervention or democracy. He readily labels the war in Iraq a “mistake” and attacks the foreign-policy establishment for its error-laden intelligence on weapons of mass destruction. He wants a strong military, but wants NATO allies to pay for it. He promises to bully adversaries, bill allies and buddy up with dictators.

And his supporters love him for it.

Here was the Cruz campaign announcement:

HOUSTON, Texas – Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz announced today a high-profile national security coalition that will advise Cruz on foreign policy issues. The group includes such leaders as former Senator Jim Talent, former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy and former Asst. Secretary of State Elliott Abrams.
 
“I am honored and humbled to have a range of respected voices willing to offer their best advice,” Cruz said. “These are trusted friends who will form a core of our broader national security team. After two terms of a failed Obama-Clinton foreign policy, our allies are confused and frightened, and our enemies are looking for opportunities. This is the moment for all those who believe in a strong America that is secure at home and respected abroad to come together and craft a new path forward.”
 
“Senator Cruz has staked out new ground in terms of a conservative foreign policy during his years in the Senate,” said Victoria Coates, who serves as Senator Cruz’s senior advisor for foreign policy. “He’s rejected the failed policies of the past and gotten back to a truly principled, Reagan-esque approach to America’s dposition in the world.”
 
“Senator Cruz has consistently demonstrated his deep commitment to Reagan’s national security philosophy, underpinned by the foundational principle of ‘peace through strength’,” said Chad Sweet, former DHS and CIA official and Chairman of the Ted Cruz for President Campaign. “The national security experts who are endorsing him today are all highly respected professionals who share Senator Cruz’s vision of how we will restore America’s leadership in the world.”

 
“Ted Cruz is a serious candidate who has grappled with national defense issues during his time in the Senate. His comprehensive plan to rebuild our military after the disastrous Obama administration Defense budget cuts demonstrates that he’s ready to be Commander in Chief on day one,” said former Senator Jim Talent. “The Obama-Clinton foreign policy has left our world a far more dangerous place, and I look forward to working with Senator Cruz on policies that will keep our nation safe.”
 
“Not since the days before 9/11 has our threat environment been more perilous, with jihadists on the rise, rogue states emboldened, and allies alarmed by over seven years of American weakness,” said former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy. “As President, Ted Cruz will restore a foreign policy that prioritizes our national interests, unleashes our armed forces to prevail when called upon, distinguishes vital security measures from naïve adventurism, and tells other nations it is once again a boon to be America’s friend and a serious mistake to be America’s enemy. President Cruz will lead from in front, with strength and clarity.”
 
“Senator Cruz has a perfect record of support for Israel in the Senate, and he has made it clear that he believes a strong Israel is America’s key ally and asset in the Middle East,” said former assistant Secretary of State Elliott Abrams. “He understands the power relationships in that region and he will put an end to the tensions of the Obama years that have weakened the US-Israel alliance. He is very clearly the most pro-Israel candidate in the race today.” 
 
The following are members of Ted Cruz’s national security coalition:
 
Elliott Abrams was an assistant secretary of State in the Reagan administration and a deputy national security advisor in the George W. Bush administration; he is a senior fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.
 
Stewart Baker served as assistant secretary for policy at DHS, as general counsel of the National Security Agency, and as general counsel of the bipartisan commission that investigated intelligence failures involving WMD and Iraq.
 
Ilan Berman is vice president of the American Foreign Policy Council, and an expert on Iran, Russia and radical Islam. 
 
Lt. General William G. “Jerry” Boykin is a retired US Army Delta Force and Green Beret commander and the Executive Vice President of the Family Research Council.
 
Fred Fleitz is senior vice president of the Center for Security Policy and a former Central Intelligence Agency analyst.
 
Randy Fort has served in the Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush administrations in senior positions in the intelligence community, and is currently an executive with the Raytheon Company.
 
Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. is the President and CEO of the Center for Security Policy.  He acted as the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy under President Reagan.
 
Nile Gardiner is a former aide to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
 
Mike Gonzalez is a senior fellow at The Heritage Foundation, a former speechwriter for the Bush Administration and editorial writer for The Wall Street Journal.
 
Katharine C. Gorka is the president of the Council on Global Security.
 
Steven Groves is a Senior Research Fellow at The Heritage Foundation where he concentrates on the protection of American sovereignty, treaties, and international law.
 
Mary Habeck is a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, where she studies al-Qa’ida, ISIS, and jihadi-salafism, and an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).
 
Kristofer L. Harrison is a co-founder of the China Beige Book and was an official in both the Departments of Defense and State in the George W. Bush administration.
 
Jerry Hendrix, a retired Navy captain, is the principal director of the Stoneridge Group, a national security consultancy.
 
Michael Ledeen is freedom scholar at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, holds a Ph.D. in Modern European History, and is the author of more than 35 books, including the forthcoming The Field of Fight.
 
Clare M. Lopez is vice president for research & analysis at the Center for Security Policy.
 
Andy McCarthy is former Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, led the prosecution of the “Blind Sheikh” and 11 other jihadists for waging a terrorist war against the United States that included the 1993 World Trade Center bombing
 
Robert C. O’Brien is a partner at Larson O’Brien LLP; he was a senior foreign policy advisor to Gov. Scott Walker and Governor Mitt Romney, and was a US Representative to the UN General Assembly. 
 
Michael Pillsbury was a Reagan campaign advisor in 1980, served as assistant undersecretary of defense for policy planning under President Reagan, and is the author of three books on China.
 
Charles “Cully” Stimson is the senior legal fellow and manager of National Security Law Program at The Heritage Foundation; he is a former deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Detainee Affairs.
 
Jim Talent was a U.S. senator from Missouri and served on the House and Senate Armed Services Committees for twelve years; he is currently a senior fellow specializing in military preparedness at the American Enterprise Institute.
 
Daniel P. Vajdich is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and was Governor Scott Walker’s deputy foreign policy director and lead staffer for Europe and Eurasia on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
 
Christian Whiton was a State Department senior advisor and deputy special envoy during the George W. Bush administration; he is the author of Smart Power: Between Diplomacy and War, and is a principal at DC International Advisory.

From Jacob Heilbrunn, author of “They Knew They Were Right: The Rise of the Neocons.” writing at The National Interest:

Frank Gaffney, who has been toiling in the far right anti-Muslim vineyards for over a decade, likes to refer to “creeping Sharia.” He himself is plain creepy. Now he and his staff at the Center for Security Policy appear to have crept into the Ted Cruz campaign, along with a passel of neoconservatives such as Elliott Abrams and Michael Ledeen who should know better but apparently don’t care that they are cheek by jowl with a febrile conspiracy theorist. How much lower can the neocons sink?

Only a few months ago Cruz was making derisory noises about the neocons:

“some of the more aggressive Washington neocons have consistently misperceived the threat of radical Islamic terrorism and have advocated military adventurism that has had the effect of benefitting radical Islamic terrorists.”

That was then. Now he’s turning to them and Gaffney. The result is the rise of the conspiracons.

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The neocons bray about Obama, but their real target is Donald Trump. Trump himself attracted criticism and mockery for bragging about his great brain when queried about whom he would turn to for foreign policy advice. “I’m speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain and I’ve said a lot of things,” he said. The Republican front-runner added:

“I know what I’m doing and I listen to a lot of people, I talk to a lot of people and at the appropriate time I’ll tell you who the people are. But my primary consultant is myself and I have a good instinct for this stuff.”

One thing seems clear: Trump’s foreign policy team—himself—is a step up from Cruz’s.

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New Cruz ad in Arizona.

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