Standing up to the hawks in your own party is bold, but will it get him elected?
I don’t find myself agreeing with Rand Paul that often, but he recently said something I think is important. Paul is of course running for president in 2016, and he has to make his rounds on the political talk-shows. It was during a segment of Morning Joe, that Paul said something unexpected for a Republican presidential contender.
When asked about foreign policy by Joe Scarborough, Paul defended his non-interventionist stance against Republican critics. Paul basically threw down the gauntlet, and called out his critics for their policy failures over the last couple of decades.
Paul was confronted with the criticism that its non-interventionist types like himself that are helping ISIS to grow, and that Paul is essentially aiding ISIS. Rather than offer a timid defense, Rand Paul went full force and claimed it was the policy prescriptions of his critics that have caused the problems America has today in the Middle East.
Paul is right. His critics within the Republican Party have gotten it wrong time and again on foreign policy. They were wrong about Iraq in 2003, wrong about Libya in 2011, and now wrong about what to do about ISIS and Syria.
The same Republicans attacking Rand Paul said Iraq would become a beacon of democracy in the Middle East. Today it is torn apart by terrorism and sectarian conflict. The “beacon of democracy” we wanted to create has become a vassal of Iran.
Libya was also not a great success. While the US and NATO aided Libyan rebels to defeat Muammar Ghadafi, the Libyan state today is a bloody mess of Iraq-like proportion. Still in civil war, Libya has gotten worse every yea ti the point where ISIS has now expanded there, and the secular democracy the West wanted is now a distant and unrealistic dream.
Paul is making a bold political move for a Republican, and I think it will boost his chances. By Paul pointing out that it was “the hawks” of his party that helped create groups like ISIS, he will be able to sway middling voters. It is perhaps a very solid strategy, that Democrats should watch carefully.
While the Republican Party establishment loves Rand Paul’s economic philosophy, they utterly despise him on foreign policy and domestic spying issues. Mainstream pundits all claim that Paul has a low chance of winning the Republican primary, I disagree. Paul is perhaps, in my opinion, one of the strongest and most likely winners of the nomination process.
Liberals aren’t necessarily huge fans of Paul, especially his domestic policy, but his foreign policy message can attract those on the left to him. This would be especially true if Hillary Clinton wins the Democratic nomination. There are many on the left who do not like interventionist policies taken up over the past decade. If no one on the left channels these angsts, then someone else will. Don’t think Rand Paul wouldn’t take advantage of this.
Many liberals opposed the Libya operation and are firmly against ground troops against ISIS and bombing Assad in Syria. Those same people on the left would be heavily disillusioned by Hillary Clinton who was in favor of it, which Paul could capitalize on.
I don’t say these things because I like Rand Paul, or even think he’ll be the next president. Paul’s stances on foreign policy however are bold compared to the crowded clown car of chicken hawk Republican Presidential candidates. His libertarian foreign policy will set him apart from the pack.