Commentary: Media misunderstand Republicans’ foreign policy views

Most GOP voters and politicians who disagree with Biden's foreign policy are neither warmongers nor isolationists; they believe in preserving freedom.

Ohio Senate candidate J.D. Vance speaks with attendees at the 2021 Southwest Regional Conference hosted by Turning Point USA. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

The corporate press is again misrepresenting the GOP.

The unprovoked war on Ukraine has elicited the usual empty-headed analysis of conservative foreign policy views. The way-too-online left maintains Republican isolationism is common, but that argument suffers from bias and is belied by facts.

More accurately, a majority of Republicans, including influential newspaper editors, support hard-line measures against Vladimir Putin’s Russia and sympathize with Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s Ukraine.

Whatever overall U.S. support there is for Ukraine — often artificial from the same left that doesn’t support efforts against radical Islam or communist China — Republican voters are not pro-Putin.

Unlike the left, an infinitesimal amount of Republicans even lean toward a non-intervention stance. We are reluctant internationalists.

According to a Yahoo News survey, most Americans of all political persuasions want to help Ukraine defend itself against Russian barbarism. And while the overwhelming number of Republicans do not approve of President Joe Biden’s handling of this crisis, they do favor working with core U.S. alliances.

But when pressed, and this is crucial, most GOP voters say they disapprove of Biden’s Ukraine policy because he’s not doing enough to combat Russia’s abominable aggression.

Media lies debunked yet again.

Perhaps based upon a half-century of foreign policy fumbles, the American public is underwhelmed by the president’s handling of this crisis.

A recent Reuters survey also showed the vast majority of conservatives prefer a robust set of measures against Russia, including arms shipments to Ukraine, economic sanctions, a ban on Russian oil imports, and the seizure corrupt oligarchs’ assets, like planes, homes and cash.

Part of a broad problem with current reporting and academic analyses is the partisan press refuses to understand Republican foreign policy opinion.

The aforementioned insular groups believe conservatives are either neo-isolationists or warmongers. That’s a myth.

Most GOP voters and politicians who disagree with Biden’s foreign policy are neither warmongers nor isolationists; they believe in preserving freedom. And when they see a small, free country viciously attacked by a larger, authoritarian power, they sympathize with the victims. That’s surely not isolationism.

Case in point: J.D. Vance, a U.S. Senate candidate in Ohio, espoused isolationist tendencies when he notoriously said he didn’t “care what happens to Ukraine one way or another.” The former Marine thought that’s what GOP primary voters wanted to hear. They didn’t. For all of Vance’s populist complaints about foreign policy “elites,” his real problem is the Republican voting base.

“If and when he fails in the primary, Vance cannot blame a lack of support from rich donors,” an Ohio-based Republican consultant told Alpha News. “He himself is wealthy, he began his campaign with a $10 million check from Peter Thiel, has been promoted by Tucker Carlson, and is endorsed by former President Trump. All the name recognition, cash, and free airtime, yet he’s doomed to defeat.”

Vance, who also recently withdrew from the Minnesota Republican Party’s annual Lincoln Reagan Dinner, favors a brand of isolationism that’s not as popular as he assumed. There’s a lesson in that.

But as importantly, it’s also a lesson for legacy media. Biden’s approval ratings remain very low on all matters because he is governing in opposition to what he promised.

Maybe they should reflect on that instead.