Who didn't see this coming? If Sen. Rand Paul actually wants to make it through a 2016 presidential primary, (and that's a big "if" right now) we all knew he was going to have to change his isolationist stance on foreign policy.
Paul was attacking Hillary Clinton for being a "war hawk" just a couple of weeks ago. He's still attacking Clinton and President Obama, but he's sounding a whole more like hawk than a dove himself these days.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) may advocate for a non-interventionist foreign policy with more judicious use of American military power, but even he wants to take military action against Islamic State militants in the Middle East.
"If I were President, I would call a joint session of Congress," he told the Associated Press in a little-noticed Friday email. "I would lay out the reasoning of why ISIS is a threat to our national security and seek congressional authorization to destroy ISIS militarily."
Those remarks contradict Paul's prominent attack on Hillary Clinton last week. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed and subsequent appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press," the libertarian-leaning senator lambasted the former secretary of state for her "war hawk" tendencies in supporting the arming of Syrian rebels. [...]
Paul, who has eyes toward a potential 2016 presidential run, has long been skeptical of entangling the U.S. in foreign affairs. After the White House announced initial airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq earlier this month, Paul seemed vexed. While reaction from the Hill was swift, the senator took four days to address the matter. When he finally broached the subject, he was tentative in his remarks.
"I have mixed feelings about it," he said of U.S. airstrikes. "I'm not saying I'm completely opposed to helping with arms or maybe even bombing."
Here's more from Charlie Pierce: For The Benefit Of Mr. Paul:
Some rude people are pointing and laughing at brogressive man-crush Senator Aqua Buddha because, once again, too many people ignored the Five Minute Rule and discovered that Aqua Buddha, unlike his pappy, Crazy Uncle Liberty (!), really, really, really wants to be president of these here United States. To that end, confronted with a golden opportunity to be at least as bellicose than thou, Aqua Buddha has placed his isolationist principles atop the chiffarobe and strapped on the Kevlar -- metaphorically, of course, because, come on, the man is a youngish Republican, and actual service is for suckers.
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."
Let's see. Deliberate misinterpretation of what the president said? Check. Pandering to the yahoos? Check. Misty, watercolored banalities in which we are told what Aqua Buddha would do, but not a thing about how he would proceed to do it? "To destroy ISIS militarily" means what, exactly? We have a winner.
Paul had recently expressed ambivalence about U.S. military action against the Islamist terrorists who are building a state in Iraq and Syria. "I have mixed feelings about it," Paul said of U.S. airstrikes against ISIS in early August. ‘I'm not saying I'm completely opposed to helping with arms or maybe even bombing," he added.
He's had a helluva month trying to keep his brand together. Events -- which is to say, reality -- keep rising up to inconvenience his usual artificial transformative palaver, and to expose it for the clever con that it is. Destroying ISIS militarily would require at the very least a massive bombing campaign in which civilian casualties would have to be an afterthought, and/or a serious commitment of actual ground troops from somewhere beyond Iraq and Syria. And, even then, if you crushed ISIS, some splinter group of barbarians would rise from the rubble you created, just as ISIS rose from the rubble created by our excellent invasion of Iraq, and we'd be off again. This is a damnable conundrum for anyone, but for someone who is still trying to euchre the non-interventionist left into a coalition with the New Gilded Age right, to say nothing of someone who once pronounced himself opposed to any kind of foreign aid to that part of the world, it is the intellectual equivalent of locking yourself inside a Rubik's Cube. Read on...