A few months ago, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), son of former Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), took on Mitt Romney on the issues of foreign policy and presidential war powers after the Republican nominee said he could unilaterally go to war with Iran. While he supported Romney, Sen. Paul showed the divide between the freedom movement and the status quo of the Republican Party.
Sen. Paul will have a chance to make further his impact in the discussion on these important issues thanks to his appointment to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee:
The GOP side of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will be drastically altered in the new Congress that began today, with four new members on the minority side led by Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, the new ranking Republican.
Corker takes over for Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN), and he will have a roster of Republican members on the committee that is diverse and powerful. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) joins the committee for the first time. McCain is no longer the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, due to term limits, but remains on SASC as a rank and file member. Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), the new ranking Republican on SASC, relinquished his SFRC seat to make room for McCain.
Three active SFRC Republicans have left the committee. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) resigned to take over the helm of the Heritage Foundation. DeMint had been the ranking Republican on the international organizations subcommittee. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA), the committee’s ranking Republican on the Africa subcommittee, also will not return to SFRC. Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), who has been a vocal critic of the State Department’s handling of the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, has also left the committee.
Replacing them will be Sens. Ron Johnson (R-WI), Rand Paul (R-KY), and newly minted Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ). Paul has been a thorn in the State Department’s side since he came to the Senate, pushing for drastic cuts in U.S. foreign aid and holding up several State Department nominees. His new SFRC perch will allow him to ramp up those activities.
Sen. Paul’s appointment, while upsetting to many establishment Republicans, is a pretty big score for the freedom movement. Of course, Sen. Paul is only one person, but it does bring some much needed balance and a new path of the GOP.