A strange thing happened Tuesday night at a Los Angeles dinner packed with well-heeled businesspeople and Republican donors.
A conservative, best known for his hawkish views on foreign policy, got a rousing ovation when he said he was “thinking about” running for president in 2016.
Former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton may not make a big splash if he jumps into the presidential race—as those close to him expect he will—but his flirtation raises some intriguing questions.
Which face of the Republican Party will dominate if and when foreign policy rears its head during the next presidential campaign? And is there opportunity in running as the party’s resident hawk?
In 2012, America’s role abroad was overshadowed by partisan tussles over health care, taxes and the proper role of government. In their last debate, President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney found more common points than real differences on the war in Afghanistan, Iran policy and the use of U.S. drone strikes abroad.
The next campaign looks set to be far feistier as Republicans duke it out over who should be their next nominee while honing their attack lines against the Obama record abroad.
As unrest bubbles across the Middle East and Asia, at least one potential GOP contender, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, has openly departed from his party’s traditionally aggressive stance on military spending and the role of U.S. forces overseas.
A Paul campaign would seek to portray both Democrats like Hillary Clinton, and his own Republican rivals, as pro-surveillance military adventurists, wagering that voters are weary of the U.S. playing the global cop role…
Still, it remains far from clear whether any of the potential GOP contenders—including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who is just wrapping up a tour of Asia—plan to run in the full-throated, expand-the-military tradition of Ronald Reagan.
Which is why a Bolton candidacy, if nothing else, could add real spice to the GOP debate stage.