POLITICS
12/27/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

McCain Adviser "Gobsmacked" By Obama's Cabinet

Max Boot, a violently hawkish neoconservative blogger and McCain campaign staffer, professes himself surprisingly impressed by Barack Obama's staff picks:

As someone who was skeptical of Obama's moderate posturing during the campaign, I have to admit that I am gobsmacked by these appointments , most of which could just as easily have come from a President McCain. (Jim Jones is an old friend of McCain's, and McCain almost certainly would have asked Gates to stay on as well.) This all but puts an end to the 16-month timetable for withdrawal from Iraq, the unconditional summits with dictators, and other foolishness that once emanated from the Obama campaign. His appointments suggest that, if anything, his administration will have a Reapolitiker, rather than a liberal, bent, although Clinton and Steinberg at State should be powerful voices for "neo-liberalism" which is not so different in many respects from "neo-conservativism". Both, for instance, support humanitarian interventions in places like Darfur and Bosnia. ...

Only churlish partisans of both the left and the right can be unhappy with the emerging tenor of our nation's new leadership.

Michael Goldfarb, another McCain blogger, agrees. Conservative Ross Douthat predicted recently that "on an awful lot of issues, the Obama foreign policy will end cutting to the right of Bill Clinton's foreign policy, which was already more center-left than left." He also wrote that "Obama already made fans of Niall Ferguson and Eli Lake; by 2012, I wouldn't be surprised if he's converted Max Boot as well." Apparently, it didn't take nearly that long.