It seems pretty clear as one reads through the various articles in neocon online rags such as Commentary, The Weekly Standard and National Review Online, that the neocons still haven’t firmed on backing any particular runner in the race for Republican nomination for the 2012 presidential elections.
They have, however, made it fairly clear who they don’t want - and that’s Ron Paul, the candidate who ran an extremely close second to Michelle Bachmann in the recent Ames straw poll. While Paul’s ideas about ending the wars goes down well with many war-weary Republican – and, indeed, Democrat – voters, it would be a complete anathema for the neocons who see the wars against Islam as essential for the long-term objective of Israel’s expansionist aspirations into the occupied territories and elsewhere.
Paul Ryan, who hasn’t said he’d run yet, apparently doesn’t cut it with the neocons either. In this case, it’s Ryan’s domestic policies that seem to be at odds with what the neocons advocate.
For the neocons – and also much of the commentariat of the mainstream media as well as at least one poll – the three main contenders at this stage of the game are Michelle Bachmann, Rick Perry and Mitt Romney.
There does seem to be a distinct trend toward favouring Rick Perry inasmuch that there is nothing being said by neocons that is critical of him – though, having said that, most comments about him are more simple observations about him rather than open support.
It may be that the neocons are still holding their cards close to their chest in case someone more favourable decides to throw their hat into the ring or they may think that it’s simply too early to put all their weight behind one candidate just to find that he or she later backs out.
One thing’s for sure; right now there is no one in the running who has really impressed the neocons. There is no George W. Bush or Dick Cheney combo anywhere on the horizon and, certainly, none of the current frontrunners could be framed as ‘neoconservative’, though all support certain aspects of neoconservative ideolgy and all have taken advise from neoconservatives. They still all have to fully prove their foreign policy credentials, particularly in relation to the Middle East and Israel, before the get the full unconditional support of the neoconservative movement.