Eli Lake has a superb breakdown at the New Republic of how the Republican foreign policy consensus has collapsed, at least insofar as it is reflected among the party’s presidential candidates.
The only thing you need to know is that everyone but Ron Paul is pro-Israel.
Just kidding! Not that it isn’t true (Eli wisely saves the insight for the end), but that it’s hardly the point.
Or not that it’s hardly the point, but that the strikingly different paths the candidates may pursue could radically alter the U.S. posture overseas — and that would surely affect friends like Israel.
Eli makes it clear that a President Michele Bachmann — and perhaps even a President Mitt Romney — would make some neoconservatives pine for the Good Ole Obama days, at least as far as interventionism and democracy promotion go. Tim Pawlenty looks like the go-to candidate for the neoconservative establishment.
Bachmann, apparently, is taking advice from Frank Gaffney, who is in the "Islam is the problem" camp as opposed to "a militant strain of Islam is the problem" camp.
That helps explain her wariness about intervening in Libya and elsewhere in the Middle East (as in, how do we know if we can trust the rebels?). It also points to an emerging split among neoconservatives, between those who back democracy promotion and those like Gaffney who fear that it will bring about an Islamist ascendancy.
The weird domestic refraction is that however much they disagree about America’s role overseas, Pawlenty and Bachmann (not to mention unlikelys like Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich) seem equally exercised about the "sharia threat" in America.
Reporting and analysis at its best. Go read.