The Washington Post is wrong when they counsel supporting the Pompeo nomination. They might think they’re being bipartisan, but they’re actually overlooking opportunities for productive bipartisanship.
Simply, they’re failing to think tactically, possibly because they misunderstand what motivates a decent chunk of Trump’s base. Most likely this is because they really are affluent coastal elitists who really don’t understand what they call “flyover states.”
Non-interventionism has long been part of the “America First” rhetoric that Trump spews for political gain. Consider how Rand Paul has vowed to filibuster the Pompeo and Haspel nominations.
Or look at cartoonist Ben Garrison. He’s a total Trump worshiper. Except that recently, he’s been having a few second thoughts about Trump. He doesn’t like John Bolton at all, and he’s not a big fan of bombing Syria, either.
In general, there’s been no shortage of criticism of Trump for bombing Syria coming from various places on the political right.
I’ve personally run into more than one Trumper online who is a non-interventionist. The mess that the Iraq War turned out to be served to increase the number of that crowd on the political right; this is one of the secrets to why Trump prevailed. And this time, the war hawks are even starting to make some anti-Trump neocons like George Will uneasy.
Thus, blocking Pompeo and Haspel seems likely to be a good wedge issue with which to help fracture Trump’s base. It’s not just the morally correct thing to do; it’s tactically shrewd realpolitik as well.