At this week’s Conservative Political Action Conference, sponsored by a who’s who of front groups for billionaires & big polluters, there’s been plenty of talk of freeing billionaires from taxes and freeing polluters from laws that keep our air & water clean.
But freedom for Egyptians? As the Washington Post reports, most of CPAC’s speakers have been strangely silent – and the loudest voice said America should’ve done less to encourage the Egyptian revolution:
[F]or the most part, they had little to say about the nation’s policy toward Egypt, whether to praise the demonstrators whose protests forced President Hosni Mubarak to step down, or to offer the principles that should guide U.S. policy as the American and Israeli ally takes the next steps toward democracy.
Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney didn’t mention Egypt at all in his speech. Nor did Sen. John Thune (S.D.), although his text included a line that said, “Let’s stand with those around the world who are risking their lives for freedom.” Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty made a glancing reference, criticizing Obama as appeasing U.S. adversaries, including “Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.”
It was left to Rep. Ron Paul (Tex.) to step into the vacuum. The libertarian conservative, who drew an enthusiastic audience of supporters, offered a contrarian view. In a party that has championed the spread of freedom as part of its recent foreign policy and whose leaders helped keep Mubarak in power for decades in the name of stability in the Middle East, Paul stood out as a dissenter.
Saying he disagrees with the idea that the United States has “a moral responsibility to spread our goodness around the world,” Paul added to cheers from the crowd, “We need to do a lot less a lot sooner, not only in Egypt but around the world.”
The lack of Egypt talk also reveals a major shortcoming of 2011’s Tea Party-dominated Republican Party: Today’s GOP leaders are foreign policy lightweights. Where are the GOP’s Jim Webbs? The Tom Perriellos? The Hillary Clintons? Instead, we get eccentric conspiracy theories from Ron Paul and anti-technology nuttery from Michele Bachmann.