Cruz, it turns out, hasn’t fully burned his bridges with that set of advisers and supporters of George W. Bush — figures like Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol and former National Security Council official Elliott Abrams, who aren’t closed off to Cruz, especially in the case of Abrams. Indeed, despite some lingering resentment and suspicion, there are even glimmers of rapprochement as the Republican primary looks like it could become a two-man race.
“I would not hesitate to back Cruz as the nominee,” Abrams — who not long ago toldNational Review that Cruz’s use of the word neocon invoked “warmongering Jewish advisers” — told BuzzFeed News. “If it’s a two man race, it’s really extraordinary to see Republican office holders in some cases or former office holders saying they don’t like Cruz or they would go for Trump, who is from my perspective not a Republican, not a conservative, has no policy views on anything that you can actually describe or get a handle on.”
In an interview on his campaign bus in Iowa last week, Cruz told BuzzFeed News that, despite his jabs at neocons, he has “good relations with a great many foreign policy thinkers.” Cruz has in the past cited Abrams along with former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton and former CIA director James Woolsey as trusted foreign policy experts.
The neocons’ willingness to consider Cruz stands in sharp contrast with a new line of current conventional wisdom in Washington that Cruz, who is the object of particularly intense personal dislike from establishment Republicans, is actually less acceptable to the establishment than Trump. The logic of many of the Republican interventionists: Cruz, according to this argument, doesn’t really mean his criticism, or at least might change his mind; Trump, by contrast, has longstanding, if sometimes incoherent, isolationist impulses. And campaigns don’t always determine foreign policy, they note: George W. Bush promised a “humble” foreign policy free of nation-building, and look what happened.