Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), son of Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), upset many of his father’s supporters back in June when he formally endorsed Mitt Romney during an appearance on Hannity. By that point, the elder Paul had conceded that he wouldn’t have nearly enough delegates to win the race.
But depite his endorsement, Sen. Paul has been criticial of Romney in one particular area — foreign policy. In late June, Sen. Paul wrote an op-ed at the National Review taking issue with Romney’s view of presidential war powers. This came after Romney said that, as president, he could use his power unilaterally to go to war in Iran; essentially throwing the idea of restraint in the office out of the window.
While he makes it clear that he’s still campaigning for Romney, Sen. Paul has once again criticized Romney on foreign policy and also on defense spending, this time in an op-ed at CNN:
This week, I will campaign for Gov. Mitt Romney. I believe this election will and should be about moving America back from the edge of the abyss on which we stand, where our debt and spending threaten to overwhelm and drown us. Romney’s belief in free markets, limited government and trade make him the clear choice to lead our country come January.
I do not, however, support a call for intervention in Syria. And, if such intervention were being contemplated, it is absolutely necessary that Congress give any such authority to the president. No president, Republican or Democrat, has the unilateral power to take our nation to war without the authority of the legislature.
At times, I have been encouraged by Romney’s foreign policy. I agree with his call to end the war in Afghanistan sooner rather than later and with his skepticism of, and call for reform in, foreign aid, but I am a bit dismayed by his foreign policy speech Monday, titled “Mantle of Leadership.”
Romney chose to criticize President Obama for seeking to cut a bloated Defense Department and for not being bellicose enough in the Middle East, two assertions with which I cannot agree.
Defense and war spending has grown 137% since 2001. That kind of growth is not sustainable.
Adm. Michael Mullen stated earlier this year that the biggest threat to our national security is our debt.
If debt is our gravest threat, adding to the debt by expanding military spending further threatens our national security.
Sen. Paul spares no criticism of President Barack Obama, who he notes “illegally began a war with Libya, taking sides with the rebels to unseat an admittedly bad man in Moammar Gadhafi.” Sen. Paul points out that Obama didn’t seek congressional approval, which is required by the Constitution.
The whole piece is worth a read. Sen. Paul articulately lays out the primary reason so many fiscal conservatives and libertarians are skeptical of a Romney Administration. He reminds us, in so many ways, of George W. Bush. Given the current occupant of the White House, that may be appealing to many Republicans, but let’s not forget that Bush waged an unnecessary war, approved a new entitlement, and ramped up non-defense discretionary spending.