Tough on Republicans, soft on Obama.7:28 AM, Feb 21, 2015 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
Rand Paul chided Rudy Giuliani for comments the former New York City mayor made about Barack Obama's love for his country. In a television interview with local Louisville station WAVE, Paul said, “it's one thing to disagree on policy” but “it’s a mistake to question people’s motives.”
It's an admirable principle. But it’s one that Paul routinely abandons when he talks about hawks in his own party.
On at least two separate occasions, Paul accused Dick Cheney of taking the country to war to enhance Halliburton’s profits. At a campaign appearance in Montana on behalf of his father in 2008, Paul noted that Cheney had opposed going to Baghdad to oust Saddam Hussein in the first Gulf War. Cheney, Paul argued, used arguments “exactly mirroring my dad’s arguments for why we shouldn’t have gone in” to Baghdad. He continued: “And this is Dick Cheney saying this. But, you know, a couple hundred million dollars later Dick Cheney earns from Halliburton, he comes back into government. Now Halliburton’s got a billion-dollar, no-bid contract in Iraq.”
In an appearance the following year, shortly before he started his own campaign for Senate in Kentucky, Paul made the claim again. Cheney’s opposition to pressing the war further was “why the first Bush didn’t go into Baghdad. Dick Cheney then goes to work for Halliburton. Makes hundreds of millions of dollars – their CEO. Next thing you know, he’s back in government and it’s a good idea to go into Iraq.”
Paul’s charge resurrected a long-discredited claim once made by mainstream Democrats, including John Kerry’s presidential campaign, but later largely abandoned to the far-left antiwar fringe. A “fact check” by the New York Times, certainly not an outlet friendly to Cheney, reported, “Mr. Cheney’s critics concede that there is no concrete evidence that he has pulled any strings on Halliburton’s behalf.” The paper noted that Cheney “bought an insurance policy that guaranteed a fixed amount of deferred payments from Halliburton each year for five years so that the payments would not depend on the company’s fortunes.” Profits from stock options were donated to charity.
Andrew Sullivan, in a column otherwise defending Paul, called his attacks on Cheney “foolish as well as stupid … It is asinine and completely fruitless to make unprovable slurs.”
It wasn’t just Cheney. Paul has regularly questioned the motives of other conservatives who disagree with him on foreign policy and national security. In 2014, Paul accused Senator John McCain, a former prisoner of war, of wanting “15 wars more.”
In a discussion with the Federalist last year, Paul discussed the 2016 Republican field made the case for a non-interventionist presidency. He framed the choice this way: “If you look at who do we choose to be in charge of the nuclear arsenal, do you want someone who is trigger-happy or eager to begin a nuclear war or do you want someone who believes that, ‘my goodness that would be a terrible thing.’” Paul did not specify which of his potential rivals is “eager to begin a nuclear war.”
Paul doesn’t only question motives of hawks or “neocons” in extemporaneous remarks, he does so in speeches he delivers from prepared texts and in op-eds.
According to a transcript posted at the Washington Note by Steve Clemons, Paul gave a speech at the Center for the National Interest in which he accused neocons of being eager for war and xenophobic. Neocons oppose negotiation, according to Paul, “because ‘foreigners’ can’t be trusted.” And, he argued, “neoconservatism” has become “neo-isolationism in which diplomacy and war is – if not the first option – the preferred option.” In an op-ed for Breitbart.com, Paul criticized hawks – or “some politicians,” as he called them – on Russia as “politicians who have never seen war talking tough for the sake of their political careers.”
8:01 AM, Feb 18, 2015 • By MICHAEL WARREN
It was more than 20 years in the past that a Bush and a Clinton faced off against each other in a presidential election. Back in 1992, that was incumbent GOP president George Bush and his successful Democratic challenger Bill Clinton. Twenty-three years later, Bush's son Jeb and Clinton's wife Hillary are gearing up for their own presidential runs, and according to a new CNN poll, more Americans see the Democrat as representing the future than they do the Republican.
Handicapping the 2016 GOP fieldFeb 23, 2015, Vol. 20, No. 23 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
It’s still two years before the next president takes the oath of office, but the contest that will determine who raises his right hand that day started in earnest last month for Republicans, with a grassroots gathering in Iowa and a meeting of high-dollar donors in California.
Oh my.Feb 16, 2015, Vol. 20, No. 22 • By ANDREW FERGUSON
Boy, that didn’t take long. Over the span of a few short days in late January and early February, three members of the top tier of Republican presidential candidates demonstrated why they’ll never be president. They didn’t do anything to disqualify themselves directly, just revealed the traits that will make them appear unsuitable to most voters by the time the campaign really heats up, say, when the presidential election is a mere 18 months away.
Cruz, Paul perform as well.12:12 PM, Jan 26, 2015 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
Rancho Mirage, California
Three top Republican senators joined top center-right donors Sunday evening for a lively, informal discussion on politics and policy to cap off a weekend that effectively marks the kickoff of the 2016 presidential primary. In oversized white chairs on stage at the Ritz Carlton Rancho Mirage, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio fielded questions for nearly 90 minutes from Jonathan Karl of ABC News, who capably pushed the potential candidates for responses on a wide range of issues.
9:38 PM, Jan 14, 2015 • By DANIEL HALPER
An institute named for the father of possible presidential candidate Rand Paul has published a piece saying the Charlie Hebdo massacre, like 9/11, was a false flag operation. The claim comes in piece titled, "Charlie Hebdo Shootings: False Flag?," put online today at the Ron Paul Institute.
In a recent op-ed, Rand Paul argues for President Obama's foreign policy.12:50 PM, Dec 20, 2014 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
Senator Rand Paul has an op-ed in Time magazine making the case for normalizing diplomatic relations with Cuba as Barack Obama has proposed. It’s a reasonable objective for U.S.
3:48 PM, Nov 30, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Bill Kristol, with Cokie Roberts, Donna Brazile, and Jelani Cobb, this morning on ABC's This Week:
2:11 PM, Oct 28, 2014 • By DAVID ADESNIK
Did Rand Paul just become a supporter of George W. Bush’s freedom agenda? “The world does not have an Islam problem,” Paul explained a few days ago. “The world has a dignity problem, with millions of men and women across the Middle East being treated as chattel by their own governments.” Such words clearly echo President Bush’s declaration that, “Sixty years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe – because in the long run, stability cannot be purchased at the expense of liberty.” Few statements have provoked more ire from committed realists, which is what Rand Paul says he is.
He’s playing the game.Sep 29, 2014, Vol. 20, No. 03 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
On the evening of September 11, Rand Paul sipped red wine out of a clear plastic cup as he wended his way through a bar full of 200 or so millennials. After snapping photos with admirers who had gathered to hear Paul speak and partake of free food and drink provided by Generation Opportunity, a libertarian-leaning nonprofit, the Kentucky senator took the stage.
3:45 PM, Sep 5, 2014 • By THOMAS DONNELLY
“They should know we will follow them to the gates of hell.”
“The long-term challenge is debilitating and ultimately eradicating a strong and growing ISIS.”
“The president should have weaponized the moderate Syrian rebels earlier.”
11:25 AM, Sep 2, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Just before the start of the Labor Day holiday weekend, the reelection campaign for Mitch McConnell of Kentucky announced its campaign manager, Jesse Benton, was resigning. Benton was leaving the campaign, Politico reports, "citing potential distractions over renewed attention to a scandal from the Iowa 2012 caucuses."
4:28 PM, Jul 18, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
It's still a year and a half before the first presidential primaries of 2016, but Gallup has a new survey out asking Republicans and Democrats about the potential GOP candidates. Analyzing those candidates' familiarity and favorability among Republicans, Gallup has discovered the best known and best liked are former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, Kentucky senator Rand Paul, Wisconsin congressman and 2012 vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, and Texas governor Rick Perry.
Rand Paul’s book recommendations.Jul 21, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 42 • By DAVID ADESNIK
Rand Paul is a man of conviction. His reputation for acting on principle is the foundation on which he has begun to build the infrastructure of a presidential campaign. It is very difficult, however, for a man of conviction to adjust his image without compromising his reputation for integrity.