Monday, December 05, 2016

Dana Rohrabacher for Secretary of State?

President-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet picks continue to be the focus of those looking for portents of what is to come, and the main source of speculation is over the position of Secretary of State. After giving Trump supporters quite a scare with indications that he just might pick none other than Mitt Romney, it looks like the subsequent outcry – including from campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, who went public with her opposition – deterred Trump, and it’s rumored that Rep. Dana Rohrabacher is now favored to win the prize. (Although don’t bet the farm on it.)

Rumor also has it that Rohrabacher was offered the deputy Secretary of State position, with the odious John Bolton in the top position, but that Dana refused on the grounds that Bolton’s foreign policy views are in many ways the exact opposite of Trump’s (and his own).

Rohrabacher’s political career is really quite a story. Here is someone who went from being a follower of Bob LeFevre, a pacifist libertarian, to a militant Reaganite who championed the cause of the Afghan mujahideen during the 1980s. As a young libertarian, he was a kind of troubadour, who took his guitar and his ultra-sectarian brand of libertarianism all across California, carrying the LeFevrian message of “autarchy” (i.e. market anarchism mixed with intransigent pacifism) to all who would listen. (Another disciple of LeFevre around this time was Charles Koch.)

A founder of one of the earliest libertarian organizations that fueled the growth of the libertarian movement in the 1960s, the California Libertarian Alliance, Rohrabacher was a veteran of the internecine wars on the right that sundered Young Americans for Freedom (YAF), the conservative youth group, into libertarian and Buckleyite factions. Rohrabacher was a leading light of YAF’s Libertarian Caucus, along with his good friend, Don Ernsberger. Ernsberger, who was for years a member of the Libertarian Party National Committee, went on to become Rohrabacher’s deputy chief of staff in Congress. But before making it to Washington as a legislator, Rohrabaher worked in the media relations office of Reagan’s 1976 campaign, and then in the press office of the Reagan White House, where he became a speechwriter for the President. The speech in which Reagan announced his “Reagan Doctrine” is attributed to him.

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