Because we overinflated the impact of neoconservatives during the Bush administration and paid little attention to them before that, we're missing the fact that neocons are having the same influence in the Obama administration they've always had, according to a report issued by the Brookings Institution.
Justin Vaïsse, senior fellow in Foreign Policy and director of research in the Brookings Center on the United States and Europe, writes in his policy paper, "Why Neoconservatism Still Matters," that a key to the continued importance of neoconservatism is the seemingly inherent resilience of the movement.
No small part of that resilience is the ability to connect new generations to neocon concerns.
Skilled thinkers and writers are in large supply. There is the still active older generation, the Scoop Jackson Democrats, including Norman Podhoretz, Elliott Abrams, Joshua Muravchik, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz and James Woolsey. There is also the more recent family of neocons, including Kristol and Kagan, David Brooks, Gary Schmitt, Tom Donnelly, David Frum and Danielle Pletka. But more importantly for the future, there are also men and women in their 40s, 30s and even 20s, whose formative experience is not the Cold War, but the 1990s and, more to the point, 9/11 and the Bush administration’s response. They include Max Boot, Dan Senor, Jamie Fly, Rachel Hoff, Abe Greenwald and Daniel Halper. In this sense, neoconservatism is regenerating itself and keeping a balanced age pyramid. After all, its idealistic, moralistic and patriotic appeal may be better suited to attract young thinkers than the prudent and reasonable calculations of realism.
Read the full policy paper here.