PNAC: Palin’s Pentagon In Waiting?

palin-gun.jpgIt looks like Bill Kristol may be making good on his threat to revive the Project for the New American Century. Since May, visitors to PNAC’s website were informed that “this account has been suspended,” but now the website is back up, though it does not seem to have been updated with any new material.

PNAC’s militaristic ultra-nationalism is implicated in some of the worst mischief of the Bush years, from the “global war on terror” to the invasion of Iraq to President Bush’s support for Israel’s refusal to negotiate with the Palestinians. Many of its members served as advisers to John McCain’s presidential campaign. Bill Kristol is still listed as PNAC’s chairman, and is known to be “exceptionally close” to the senator. McCain’s top foreign policy aide, Randy Scheunemann, serves as PNAC’s project director. McCain spokesperson Michael Goldfarb is also listed as a PNAC research associate.

We should consider what PNAC’s possible revival means for the future of Sarah Palin. Palin was first “identified as a potential future leader of the neoconservative cause” in June 2007 when the Weekly Standard’s annual summer cruise docked in Juneau. Several editors — including Bill Kristol — had dinner with Palin. Scott Horton reported that in the following months, the Standard published a number of laudatory items about Palin — “starting with a paean entitled ‘The Most Popular Governor‘ that ran right after” the dinner.

Among those associated with the McCain campaign, Kristol, Scheunemann, and Goldfarb are known to have been three of the biggest Sarah Palin boosters. It was reported that Scheunemann had even been fired by the campaign after it was discovered that he was leaking information favorable to Palin to the press. Goldfarb later denied that Scheunemann had been fired, but “told reporters that Scheunemann’s Blackberry had been confiscated in the days before the election,” and that his email had been cut off.

After lobbying McCain to pick Palin as his VP, Kristol then used his prominent position as a New York Times columnist to promote Palin and criticize the McCain team’s handling of her. Given that Kristol’s faction began to close ranks around Palin in the waning days of the campaign, and given how deeply leveraged Kristol’s reputation is in her future success, it will be interesting to see what role the revived PNAC plays in continuing political adventures of Governor Sarah Palin.

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