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“A Senator Divided Against Himself Cannot Stand”: Rand Paul Disagrees With Rand Paul, Again

Republican condemnations of President Obama’s counter-terrorism efforts are clearly growing louder, but there’s still some disagreements within the GOP itself.

When discussing ISIS and the national-security threat, for example, one prominent Republican senator recently said, “What’s going on now, I don’t blame on President Obama. Has he really got the solution? Maybe there is no solution.”

Another prominent Republican senator later argued the opposite, writing an op-ed that read, “Our recent foreign policy has allowed radical jihadists to proliferate. Today, there are more terrorists groups than there were before 9/11, most notably ISIS…. [W]hy, after six years, does President Obama lack a strategy to deal with threats like ISIS?”

Wait, actually both quotes came from the same guy. Benjy Sarlin highlighted the contradiction.

After expressing reluctance to intervene against ISIS over the summer, Sen. Rand Paul abruptly shifted gears on Thursday and announced that he supports military action to eliminate the Islamist group. […]

Paul’s hawkish turn comes after months of hedging and skeptical comments regarding U.S. involvement in Iraq and Syria. Yet Paul boasted on Thursday that as president he would have committed to a grand plan to eliminate ISIS earlier and more effectively than President Obama.

I haven’t the foggiest idea how anyone can take the Kentucky Republican seriously on the issue. Rand Paul seems to have very strong disagreements with Rand Paul, and there’s little hope for reconciliation – one has no use for “interventionists” and the “hawkish members” of his own party; the other is eager to support U.S. military intervention abroad to destroy ISIS.

One has “mixed feelings” about an expansive military operation in the Middle East; the other is outraged by President Obama’s cautious approach to pursuing expansive military operation in the Middle East.

Simon Maloy noted that the same conservatives the senator has spent years disagreeing with about foreign policy are delighted by Paul’s dramatic flip-flop.

In less than a week he went from “let’s be realistic about what we can do militarily” to “destroy ISIS militarily.” The Weekly Standard happily clipped Paul’s remarks under the headline “Rand Paul Supports U.S. War in Middle East to Destroy ISIS.” Neocon pundit Jennifer Rubin — whose Washington Post blog is basically a free-form screed against Rand Paul’s foreign policy — writes today: “Well, welcome aboard, Sen. Paul.”

Of course, the senator’s evolution goes beyond foreign policy.  Sarah Smith recently noted that the Kentucky Republican has also changed his mind about federal aid to Israel, use of domestic drones, immigration, elements of the Civil Rights Act, Guantanamo Bay, and even accepting donations from lawmakers who voted for TARP.

And so, I’ll ask again: at what point do Rand Paul’s loyal followers start to reconsider whether Rand Paul actually agrees with them?


By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, September 5, 2014

September 8, 2014 - Posted by | Foreign Policy, ISIS, Rand Paul | , , , , ,

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