You may have read that Rand Paul is a hawk with regard to ISIS:
Kentucky senator Rand Paul tells the AP that he would seek to "destroy ISIS militarily" if he were president -- or at least he seems to be based on statements he made last week at the annual meeting of Americans for Prosperity:However, Jacob Sullum at Reason notes that Paul tried to finesse the question in a Q&A session held elsewhere in Dallas the same day:
Speaking to a ballroom later, some of the loudest applause for Paul came when he quipped: "If the president has no strategy, maybe it's time for a new president."
In an emailed comment, however, Paul elaborated by saying: "If I were President, I would call a joint session of Congress. I would lay out the reasoning of why ISIS is a threat to our national security and seek congressional authorization to destroy ISIS militarily."
I think the strategy has to be that you have an open debate in the country over whether or not ISIS is a threat to our national security. And it's not enough just to say they are. That's usually what you hear—you hear a conclusion. People say, "Well, it's a threat to our national security." That's a conclusion. The debate has to be: Are they a threat to our national security?Conclusion: Rand Paul wants war-skeptic kids' love and Sheldon Adelson's money, so he's talking out of both sides of his face. But we knew that, right? What I find more interesting is the middle paragraph from that Q&A quote. Let me run it by you again:
Our national security doesn't have to be just stopping at our borders. It can include our embassy personnel. It can include our soldiers. It can include citizens, and people involved in business, and journalists -- things like that. So I think it is a real debate.
What I would do, if you want a strategy, you have to go to the American people. You have to go to Congress. I would convene a joint session of Congress, and I would ask for permission from Congress and say, "These are the reasons why I think ISIS is a threat to us. This is why we should be involved." If [President Obama] doesn't do that, then I think he doesn't galvanize support, we look weak to the world, and in the end we don't really have a strategy.
Our national security doesn't have to be just stopping at our borders. It can include our embassy personnel. It can include our soldiers. It can include citizens, and people involved in business, and journalists -- things like that. So I think it is a real debate.You know what that reminds me of? This 2008 speech by presidential candidate Barack Obama:
... we’re going to grow our Foreign Service, open consulates that have been shuttered and double the size of the Peace Corps by 2011 to renew our diplomacy. We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we’ve set.That's a small portion of a speech about creating national service opportunities, most of them domestic, some of them focused overseas. Remember what happened when Obama said this? Right-wingers freaked out. They took the bit about "a civilian national security force" and reacted this way:
We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.
A Republican congressman from Georgia said Monday he fears that President-elect Obama will establish a Gestapo-like security force to impose a Marxist dictatorship.They never stopped reacting that way. They're still reacting that way.
"It may sound a bit crazy and off base, but the thing is, he's the one who proposed this national security force," Rep. Paul Broun said of Obama in an interview Monday with The Associated Press. "I'm just trying to bring attention to the fact that we may -- may not, I hope not -- but we may have a problem with that type of philosophy of radical socialism or Marxism." ...
"That's exactly what Hitler did in Nazi Germany and it's exactly what the Soviet Union did," Broun said. "When he's proposing to have a national security force that's answering to him, that is as strong as the U.S. military, he's showing me signs of being Marxist."
Did right-wingers really believe that Obama meant to turn the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps and the like into a national Gestapo? Did they really think he meant to fund them dollar for dollar at the same level as the military (rather than using "just as well-funded" to mean "as fully funded for their missions as the military is for its mission")? I guess a lot did, though others obviously just pounced cynically on the ambiguous language.
But can you imagine what the reaction would have been if Obama had talked instead about a national security policy that isn't "stopping at our borders" and "can include citizens, and people involved in business, and journalists"? Wouldn't the freakout have been largely the same? Obama wants a domestic army! Obama wants journalists to be part of the national security apparatus! Obama wants business subsumed to his national security ends!
Don't worry, Rand -- no one's going to react that way to what you said, not even if you're the 2016 GOP nominee. The same alarmists aren't going to describe you as a potential Hitler. You're a Republican. It's all good.