Neocon ‘purge’ at AEI?
This is probably a misinterpretation of events, so take it with a grain of salt:
Numerous neocons told me that a vicious purge is being carried out at [the American Enterprise Institute], spearheaded by vice-president for foreign and defense policy studies, Danielle Pletka.
There can be no doubting that change is afoot at AEI. Recently, Michael Ledeen and Reuel Marc Gerecht have departed AEI. Joshua Muravchik is on the way out as well. . . .
Gerecht is currently at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, which, along with the Hudson Institute, where Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff, “Scooter” Libby and Douglas J. Feith are fellows, seems to functioning as something of a safe haven for neocons. . . .
Pletka has been closely identified with neocon positions on Iraq and Iran. But now there is tremendous hostility toward her among neocons, who allege that, as a former staffer for Jesse Helms, who embodied more traditional Republican foreign-policy precepts, she is out to extirpate neocon influence at AEI.
(Via American Power.) Like I said, probably a misinterpretation. The economic meltdown has hurt many non-profits, and everybody seems to be cutting back. (Just Friday, for example, I learned that the Media Research Center has slashed its staff.) Furthermore, given the current political landscape, I can understand why AEI might want to reduce its foreign-policy staff.
On the other hand, I would entertain the possibility that some deep-pocket conservative donors might have told AEI, “Hey, before I sign you another fat check, how about you get rid of some of the hawks who’ve been cheerleading this disaster?” So it may be more a function of fund-raising realities than of any vengeance on the part of Pletka.
Yet, given the history of the conservative movement, if there really is a “purge” of neocons, it’s not like they haven’t done their own share of purging over the years. Some of my friends were among the “Unpatriotic Conservatives” whom David Frum tried to read out of the movement in 2003.
Just as an aside, it would be very bad if Muravchik has fallen victim to any such purge. His 2002 book, Heaven on Earth: The Rise and Fall of Socialism, is excellent. As an erstwhile socialist, Muravchik certainly could be called a neocon, but I’m not aware that he was particularly culpable in the misadventures of the Bush administration.
(Cross-posted at The Other McCain.)
Robert Stacy McCain