"Young Guns" Take Aim At Middle East Peace

September 13, 2010 1:28 pm ET — MJ Rosenberg

Three Members of the House of Representatives — Paul Ryan (R-WI), Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) — have published a little book outlining their plans for America, and the world, if the Republicans re-take Congress in November.

The book is called "Young Guns" in honor of the movement within the GOP that the three proudly lead.  Fred Barnes (editor of the far-right Weekly Standard) writes in his introduction to the book that Ryan, Cantor and McCarthy are the future of the GOP.

The future of Young Guns and its three honchos is unquestionably bright. I'm convinced Eric Cantor will be speaker or majority leader the next time Republicans control the House. When that happens, Paul Ryan will be chairman of the House Budget Committee and will be in line to become chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.... As for McCarthy, he'll be right behind Cantor in the leadership, either as majority leader or whip — and someday if Cantor steps aside, even House speaker.  All the while, he'll be fixated on how to win more elections, more often.  In short, Young Guns is not only here to stay, but to succeed.

Wow.  Barnes does not even mention the "Young Gun" in line to be speaker if the GOP succeeds this year, John Boehner.  He goes right to the speakerships of Cantor and McCarthy.  Given that the last ten speakers served an average of seven years, Barnes is assuming the Republicans will control the House for, at least, the next 20 years. 

No doubt, Barnes hopes that two decades in power would be enough time for conservatives to dismantle the entire safety net, continue the redistribution of wealth from millionaires to billionaires, get rid of consumer protection and environmental protection laws, abolish labor unions, and achieve the American Eden that existed before FDR.

I'm not exaggerating.  On page 131, Paul Ryan specifically writes that America began its descent even before FDR with the Progressive era of 1900-1920 (those Progressives abolished child labor in factories, created the national parks and enacted "pure food" laws). 

Ryan writes: "Progressivism marked the point at which some politicians and intellectuals began to question the meaning of the Constitution and the self-evident truths of America's founding."  (p. 132)

We all know where that led...the five-day work week, Social Security, the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, and Medicare.

The whole book is about getting back to the way we were before those reforms destroyed everything (the "Young Guns," like Glenn Beck, think reform is a four letter word). 

But the Guns reserve a few pages for another priority: avoiding peace abroad.

With the US involved in two wars, the book devotes a grand total of nine of its 191 pages to foreign policy.  These pages are authored by Eric Cantor — who has no more foreign policy expertise than the other two, but as the Gun most fervent in his opposition to the Arab-Israeli peace process and negotiations of any sort with Iran he can claim the role of the Guns' Guru on world affairs.

Cantor's take on the Middle East is that it is a region where pure good confronts pure evil.

"No one needs to tell me about the bad guys out there. But being an American Jew has given me a unique perspective on the good guys."

"...I subscribe to the fundamental soundness of what the author Primo Levi said when he was asked what he learned from the Holocaust.  He said, 'When a man with a gun says he's going to kill you — believe him.'"

And, surprise surprise, the "men with guns" are Muslims.

Cantor seems to believe that the Middle East conflict is one of those rare international conflicts where one side is 100% right and the other is 100% wrong.  For Cantor, there is no West Bank occupation, no settlements, no Palestinian grievances.  Hence, there is no need to negotiate.

There is no need to go on.  On domestic policy, these Guns say what they believe — that the rich should go untaxed, that all regulation of any sort should be abolished, that the military is pretty much the only government institution worth preserving, and that the poor, the elderly, and the sick should rely on their church or their neighbors for assistance.  I have no doubt they believe this selfish nonsense, designed to redistribute as much national treasure as possible to their friends and supporters.

On foreign policy, though, it's all pander.  I don't doubt that Eric Cantor views the Middle East entirely through the lens of the Israeli Right.  But the others are just going along for the ride.  They think that the way to win over pro-Israel donors and voters is by advocating positions (they sure aren't policies!) they think will pay off. 

Sad to say, if they became policy, these positions would be disastrous for the United States — and even more disastrous for Israel.  But what do they care?  They have a campaign to run.  They think they will have 20 years in the majority, to fine tune their simple minded positions into simple-minded policy.