Steven Cook posits:
Needless to say, Washington's position in the Middle East was far worse after the ascendance of the neoconservatives during the Bush years. The region was further from peace, stability, and prosperity than when they found it in early 2001. Still, the neocons' perspective on the nature of the Syrian and Iranian regimes were largely accurate, and their forceful advocacy of democracy and freedom in the Middle East may have grated on many, but it did much to advance those causes in a region once described as "democracy's desert." Any number of observers would surely disagree with these claims, but I suspect that has more to do with politics than a careful evaluation of what the neocons have to offer to the foreign-policy debate.
And then there's the reality of seeing their policies in Israel and Iraq over the last ten years. And the refusal of so many of them to adjust. Personally, as someone once said, I've been mugged by reality.