“Neoconservative” and “neocon” have become terms of abuse, denoting right-wing extremism. But the original neoconservatives began mostly as left-leaning intellectuals who only deserted the Democratic Party after it fell under the influence of the counterculture during the Vietnam War. With Barack Obama about to become president, is there any chance neoconservatives will finally return to the roost?
A month or two ago, the question would have seemed preposterous. Mr. Obama, after all, was the most left-wing member of the U.S. Senate — not to mention a former pal of Weatherman Bill Ayers and other extremists. Yet in his presidential campaign, Mr. Obama picked up a number of high-profile conservative endorsements, among them the late William F. Buckley’s son, Christopher, columnist Kathleen Parker, and Reagan foreign-policy hand Kenneth Adelman. If Mr. Obama governs as smartly as he has campaigned — and the signs suggest he will — he stands to make further inroads.