Ladies and gentleman, I give you the least brave person hoping you'll vote for him for president: Sen. Rand Paul.
Wanting/needing/hoping to be all things to all voters, Paul has been making the rounds of traditionally Democratic strongholds, like Detroit and Berkeley, with his inconsistent mix of small "l" and capital "L" libertarianism.
I'll give Paul credit for knowing which parts of his philosophy to focus on, depending on the audience. But woe to the "journalist" who tries to remind him of his own words when the audience is less likely to be sympathetic.
Jonathan Karl, whose only purpose appears to be pimp and fluff potential Republican candidates, starts the segment with the ridiculous framing of "So, are you the frontrunner for 2016?" to throwing Paul for a loop by asking him if he really meant that Cheney was a war profiteer.
David Corn at Mother Jones has done it again! He's found a 2009 video of a speech Rand Paul delivered to students at Western Kentucky University, in which he accuses Dick Cheney of war profiteering:
On April 7, 2009, as Paul was on the cusp of announcing his senatorial bid, he spoke to student Republicans at Western Kentucky University. Recalling President Dwight Eisenhower's warning about the military-industrial complex, he noted, "we need to be fearful of companies that get so big that they can actually be directing policy." And the company he had in mind was Cheney's former home: "When the Iraq war started, Halliburton got a billion-dollar no-bid contract. Some of the stuff has been so shoddy and so sloppy that our soldiers are over there dying in the shower from electrocution. I mean, it shouldn't be sloppy work, it shouldn't be bad procurement process. But it really shouldn't be that these people are so powerful that they direct even policy."
Paul then indicated to the students that he believed that Cheney had used 9/11 as an excuse to launch the Iraq war to serve Halliburton's interests.
It's actually refreshing to hear someone with a national platform point out the obvious--especially on a putative news show. But when Karl asks him if he really means it, baby Paul couldn't backtrack fast enough:
Karl: Do you really think that Cheney was motivated by his financial ties to Halliburton?
Paul: I am not questioning his motives…
Karl: It sure looked like you were questioning his motives…
Paul: Here’s what I’m questioning. I don’t think Dick Cheney did it out of a malevolence. I think he loves his country as much as I love the country.
Karl: But you said, ‘We don’t want our defense to be defined by people who make money off the weapons.’ Are you suggesting that’s why we went to war in Iraq?
Paul: No, no…
Karl: ….That our defense was being defined by people who make money off weapons…
Paul: …No, and that’s why I’m also saying I’m not questioning Dick Cheney’s motives. There’s a chance for a conflict of interest. At one point in time, he was opposed to going into Baghdad, then he was out of office, involved in the defense industry and then he was for going into Baghdad.
So Paul's not questioning his motives, just mentioning there might be a chance of a conflict of interest? Coward. Imagine how much more respect Paul would get for just saying what we've known for a decade now: the invasion and occupation of Iraq was done to benefit Bush cronies, especially Dick Cheney.
And the Devil's Spawn criticism that Paul's foreign policy talking points came from Rachel Maddow? Fat chance. But let me say this: if it was true, we'd know it was a hell of a lot more substantive and fact-based than anything that has ever come out of the mouth of a Cheney.