In a Peter Baker profile of Dick Cheney's vampiric unshakability, Bill Kristol defends His Vice-Malignancy as a perfectly appropriate spokesman for the GOP's Orwellian Two-Minute-Hate rollouts on Fox, actual news networks, and assorted talk-radio asylums: "A lot of people will say: 'Good points. Does it have to be Dick Cheney making them? He’s got so much baggage.' I always find that too clever by half. I think Dick Cheney is very popular among conservative Republicans."
To Kristol's list of dubious honorifics we may now add master of tautology. "Dick Cheney is very popular among conservative Republicans." This, of course, is like observing that Karl Marx is very popular among communists. I can only guess that Kristol's ploy here is to lull the reader into thinking that he, Kristol, had something to say simply by virtue of saying something. But woe to the reader who pauses to reflect on Kristol's quotable insight--for only in frustration will he search for anything but the prodigiously obvious.
Still, there is an unintended meaning in what Kristol imparts to the NY Times. And Rand Paul is capitalizing on it. Yes, Dick Cheney is conservative Republicanism, and conservative Republicanism is Dick Cheney, and both have come to be defined by unthinking, Kristolian hawkishness--all of which the American people, by and large, are sick to death. Its heyday was 9/11's aftermath, but it has since exposed itself as insanely costly adventurism with no end.
It was scarfed Snoopy in goggles on the doghouse; it is now scarfed Snoopy in the doghouse. The electorate--among whom many are political moderates and prudent interventionists of Republican leanings--have, to put it briefly, had enough of neoconservative Republicanism's crap. (I, for one, would call it pseudoconservatism, since there is nothing sequentially conservative about extravagant adventurism.)
Sen. Paul is attempting to marry his neo-isolationism to H.W. Bushian restraint, for that, electorally speaking, is the party's only feasible future. Crushing Paul in 2016, however, are two enormous inconveniences: Mrs. Clinton already has the election won, and Paul as a messenger of only prudent interventionism is probably four-to-eight years too early on the Republican-primary scene, since the angry-aging-white-male hawks haven't departed it, and this world, yet.
In the meantime, Mr. Kristol, please do keep reminding voters that Dick Cheney and conservative Republicanism are indistinguishable. Only you and your fellow chickenhawks see that as an electoral plus.