"Well, I was more concerned about what the candidates in New Hampshire the other night said. This is isolationism. There's always been an isolation strain in the Republican Party -- the Pat Buchanan wing of our party. But now it seems to have moved more center stage, so to speak. ... If we had not intervened, Gadhafi was at the gates of Benghazi. He said he was going to go house to house to kill everybody. That's a city of 700,000 people. What would we be saying now if we had allowed that to happen?
"...(Ronald Reagan) would be saying: 'That's not the Republican Party of the 20th century and now the 21st century. That is not the Republican Party that has been willing to stand up for freedom for people for all over the world,' whether it be in Grenada -- that Ronald Reagan had a quick operation about -- or whether it be in our enduring commitment to countering the Soviet Union."
Oh, it certainly is the Republican Party of Eisenhower/Reagan internationalism. Both former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich's expressions of doubt regarding continuing Afghanistan and Libyan war policies are completely in line with the pragmatic internationalism of the post-World War II GOP.
At the end of President Dwight Eisenhower's two terms, he proudly declared that on his watch, America had lost neither a foot of international ground nor a single American combat death. Similarly, Reagan's two terms brought down Soviet communism, held the line through surrogate wars in Central America and almost bloodlessly removed communists in Grenada -- suffering as our primary troop loss during his terms about 250 Marines killed by a truck bomber in Lebanon.
However, after a decent interval, Reagan withdrew our troops, judging that keeping troops in a location where they could do no good would be an act of pride, not rational policy. Neither great internationalist president committed our country directly to a bloody war, although both were prepared to do so if necessary.
Reagan's decision to place nuclear Pershing missiles in Europe was manifest evidence of his willingness to risk war on behalf of our broad international interests. The gambit succeeded without bloodshed, as it turned out.
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.