Sunday, February 10, 2013


At a moment when Barack Obama fully owns American foreign policy and is being attacked from the left, you'd think Republicans would see a golden opportunity to reach back into their isolationist past, and also tap into their present-day advocacy of smaller government, in order to join the lefty pile-on.

But old Republican habits die hard:
... in broad terms, the conversation generated by the confirmation hearing of John O. Brennan, [President Obama's] nominee for C.I.A. director, underscored the degree to which Mr. Obama has embraced some of Mr. Bush's approach to counterterrorism, right down to a secret legal memo authorizing presidential action unfettered by outside forces.

At the same time, a separate hearing in Congress revealed how far Mr. Obama has gone to avoid what he sees as Mr. Bush's central mistake. Testimony indicated that the president had overruled his secretaries of state and defense and his military commanders when they advised arming rebels in Syria....

Critics on the left saw abuse of power, and critics on the right saw passivity.
Righties just can't let go of their knee-jerk tendency to see any Democrat as America-hating and weak-willed. It may be doing them less good than at any time in the past forty years, but it still fires up the base -- you know, the folks who still think Hanoi Jane urinal stickers are hilariously incisive social commentary.

Even accountability-free Obama-style Death From Above isn't enough for these folks:
Particularly stark has been the secret memo authorizing the targeted killing of American citizens deemed terrorists under certain circumstances without judicial review, a memo that brought back memories of those in which John Yoo, a Justice Department official under Mr. Bush, declared harsh interrogation legal.

... Some called Mr. Obama a hypocrite. But Mr. Yoo himself saw it differently, arguing in The Wall Street Journal that the memo, whatever the surface similarities to his own, betrayed a flawed vision because it presented the issue in law enforcement terms rather than as an exercise of war powers.
He still thinks it's a legal matter rather than a war when he's incinerating people! Pansy!

Which is why Rand Paul is going to find himself just as marginalized as his dad was when he runs for president in 2016, if he keeps talking like this:
Senator Paul ... tried this week, in a talk at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, to become the voice of a new vision of Republican foreign policy....

Senator Paul said that he agreed with those who say that "Western occupation fans the flames of radical Islam." ... With the debt crisis, the United States simply can't afford all its current and possible future military interventions. Fiscal conservatism, by this line of thinking, means peace.

Just as his father made "Audit the Fed" a popular cause, Senator Paul told me in January, "I think I can do the same with 'Audit the Pentagon'" and fold defense cuts into his party's conception of fiscal responsibility.
If Obama, after all he's done to be the anti-McGovern, is still damned as a treasonous appeaser by the likes of Liz Cheney and Bill Kristol, then how does Rand Paul expect to get this past GOP primary voters in the next election cycle? Especially if he's not only rejecting star-spangled war but also questioning the defense industry's inalienable right to massive Pentagon boondoggles?

If Rand seems to have a shot in a divided field, the GOP establishment, led by phony tough guy Roger Ailes at Fox News, will destroy him. But Rand won't have a shot -- he's less reflexively anti-war than his father, which means he'll impress fewer kids, yet he's still too much of a war skeptic to inspire anything but outrage among angry white men who've watched Fox continuously since the 1990s.

So buh-bye, President-Wannabe Rand. Nice knowing you.


Victor said...

Yeah, the Republicans have a niche here which they can use to pivot back into something that's not totally abhorant to the rest of non-loon America - if not isolation, then certainly cutting the needless and often heedless military spending, and the Military Industrial Complex.

But sadly for them, they can't do that without losing the tons of campaign money that comes from the MIC.

And the old school 'Civil Liberatrians' that they used to be, could use the drone issue to dump on President Obama - especially the part about allowing drones to be used to kill American citizens, without any due process of law.

Why don't they?
Largely, because they want THEIR next President to be able to rain death down on "Blah" and brown people from the skies.

And, so that their President can also use the drones on his/her/their domestic enemies.

Examinator said...

They (GOP hierarchy) won't choose Paul Rand because they know that besides the money from MIC. There's the votes i.e. many of their complexes are in areas where they are a major employer. Consequentially the areas are Republican/or swing seats. The GOP simply can't afford Rand

redscott said...

All of this is true, but I hope he sticks with it. The GOP doesn't listen to anyone outside its tent, so having someone inside talking about a non-crazy foreign policy might change a few minds.