McCain blasts GOP field’s alleged isolationism: ‘I wonder what Ronald Reagan would be saying today?’

Jeff Poor Media Reporter
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Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, is a hawk when it comes to U.S. foreign policy, but is his brand of Republican politics on its way out? That may be the case, based on what has been heard from the 2012 Republican presidential field as of late.

On Sunday’s “This Week,” McCain said he was concerned with the direction the party was heading on foreign policy.

“Well, I was more concerned about what the candidates in New Hampshire the other night said,” McCain said. “This is isolationism. There’s always been an isolation strain — isolationist strain on the Republican Party, Pat Buchanan-wing of our party. But now it seems to have moved more center stage, so to speak.”

McCain invoked Republican icon Ronald Reagan and alluded to all the foreign policy endeavors he pursued at the height of the Cold War.

“I wonder what Ronald Reagan would be saying today?” McCain said. “[H]e would be saying that’s not the Republican Party of the 20th century and now the 21st century. That’s not the Republican Party that has been willing to stand up for freedom for people for all over the world – whether in Grenada that Ronald Reagan had a quick operation about or about countering the Soviet Union.”

McCain said he disagreed with 2012 contender Minnesota Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann’s position that there are no vital national security interests in Libya for the United States.

“I strongly disagree with her and others,” McCain said. “The fact is our interests are our values are that we don’t want people needlessly slaughtered by the thousands if we present such activity. Second of all, Gaddafi has the blood of 90 Americans on his hands. He’s a person involved in acts of terror against the United States of America – bombing of our embassy, et cetera.”

Later in the interview, the Arizona senator said he was satisfied with the field and liked their chances against Obama.

“I’m satisfied,” McCain said. “I think there may be others who jump in. but I’m satisfied. This is a beginning of a process, but I’m confident we will come up with a candidate that will be very competitive with President Obama.”

As for an endorsement, McCain said it would be inappropriate for him to get behind any candidate. However, he did reiterate his message that the GOP should not become an “isolationist party.”

“I think it’s inappropriate for me to [endorse],” McCain said. “I do want to send a message and that is that we cannot move into an isolationist party. We cannot repeat the lesson in the 1930s when the United States of America stood by while bad things happened in the world. We are the lead nation in the world and America matters and we must lead and sometimes that leadership entails sacrifice, sadly.”