Tweet from The Wasington Post's Rajiv Chandrasekaran in response to Chuck Hagel's confirmation hearing:
At Hagel hearing, 136 mentions of Israel and 135 of Iran. Only 27 refs to Afghanistan. 2 for Al Qaida. 1 for Mali.— Rajiv Chandrasekaran (@rajivwashpost) January 31, 2013
Well, of course. The discussion, like most discussions in Washington, centered on what Republicans wanted to talk about, and what they wanted to talk about was -- exclusively -- whatever they thought they could use for political advantage. It doesn't matter that this is a dangerous world, and this was the Senate Armed Services Committee questioning a nominee for secretary of defense -- nobody talked about Mali because Republicans haven't yet figured out a way to use Mali to hurt Democrats. Republicans can no longer use Al Qaeda and and Afghanistan to hurt Democrats, because it's not Bush's first term anymore, so Al Qaeda and Afghanistan barely came up. It was all Israel and Iran, all the time.
We literally no longer have Republican officeholders in Washington who have any larger interest than scoring points for themselves and their side. (Oh, yeah -- they also care about cutting taxes for the rich, but that wasn't relevant here.) On foreign policy, the Republican Party was once dominated by isolationists, and later by realists and by interventionists -- but now the party is dominated by Republicanists. It's all about politics. Republicans have no greater concern. America and its role in the world? Who cares! All that matters is beating their political enemies.