neoconservatives

Americans are tired of war: Old Guard Republicans attacking Rand Paul show how truly out of touch they are

Power structures and ideological dynamics change quickly in Washington, and when a sea change happens you almost feel sorry for the losing side, who usually doesn’t realize it for a while, still clinging to their anachronistic worldview and thinking it’s mainstream. But there comes a time when you just have to point and laugh at people who have lost, and lost big, and don’t even realize it.

Politico has a new summary of all the defense hawk attacks on Rand Paul’s alleged “isolationism,” including Rick Perry, Dick Cheney, Elliott Abrams from the Council on Foreign Relations, and Mackenzie Eaglen from the American Enterprise Institute. In denouncing the freshman Senator’s skepticism of interventionism, they cite the current situation in Iraq, Afghanistan, and of course 9/11.

Yes, “it’s been a long time since 9/11,” as Cheney said, lamenting what he sees as forgetfulness about the threat of terrorism, but also, it’s been a long time since 9/11. At a certain point you have to stop buttressing your entire foreign policy narrative with the biggest failure of our national intelligence and defense systems since Pearl Harbor. We haven’t reverted to a pre-9/11 mindset, we’ve evolved to a post-post-9/11 mindset. The world has changed, again; global interventionists haven’t.

Perhaps sadder still than their reliance on the 9/11 shibboleth is the delusion that hawks are still the mainstream of public opinion or even the Republican Party:

Rand Paul has already won: Republicans are rethinking foreign policy

Conservatism seems to be appealing again, thanks in no small part to the “get off my lawn establishment politician!” flavor of the increasingly-difficult-to-ignore libertarian wing of the big tent. And it’s not difficult to understand why. When a policy push advocates, generally, for a less intrusive government regarding taxation and electronic spying and nanny state moralizing, free people tend to sit up and take notice.

But there’s one area critics of libertarianism have at least a marginally sturdy leg to stand on: foreign policy/national defense. And it’s not because libertarians don’t care about these issues; rather, it’s that there hasn’t been a unified voice concerning these issues from a group that is fairly consistent on most other major policy ideas, making criticism an easy task.

In short, libertarians, as vocal a group on politics as any you’re likely to meet, shy away en masse from making definitive statements about foreign policy. But there may be some very good — and surmountable — reasons for that. One of them is an exhaustion with the interventionist philosophy of neocons, one many libertarians feel has kept the US in expensive and bloody wars and conflicts in different parts of the world for far too long. And it’s a philosophy that, oddly, continues still.

No one is suggesting it’s not an utter tragedy what happened to those Nigerian schoolgirls. But is it a conflict we should be involving ourselves in? And why? Those questions have yet to be answered or — frankly — even posed.

Floundering Old Guard Republicans re-launch attacks on Rand Paul

Back in March, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) propelled himself to the forefront of Republican politics when he led an inspiring 13-hour filibuster against the confirmation of CIA nominee John Brennan.

For the entirety of his procedural protest, Paul and several of his colleagues, most notably Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mike Lee (R-UT), highlighted the constitutional problems with President Barack Obama’s drones policy, which is largely consistent with the views of his hawkish predecessor and many of today’s conservatives. Paul would go onto win the CPAC straw poll the following week and has been a frequent voice of opposition to the Washington political establishment on foreign policy.

The reaction from the Old Guard Republicans was expected. Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and John McCain (R-AZ) both sided with President Obama on drones and foreign policy and admonished Paul from the Senate floor with the latter referring to his colleague from Kentucky a “wacko bird.” Bill Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard, called Paul’s foreign policy views “dangerous” and tried to label him as an “neo-isolationist.” Jennifer Rubin, the Washington Post’s token Republican, has also taken shots at Paul on foreign policy, though with little effect.

Marco Rubio’s Delusions of Grandeur

On Wednesday, Senator Marco Rubio outlined his vision for American foreign policy in a speech to the Brookings Institution in Washington. Suffice to say, it is a vision that will have more appeal to Bill Kristol than to Ron Paul. Rubio calls for more involvement in the world, more foreign aid, and more intervention. After reading Rubio’s speech, it is clear that he has not learned anything from the past decade and the foreign policy mistakes of the Bush43 and Obama Administrations.

Rubio first outlines his globalist agenda:

I always start by reminding people that what happens all over the world is our business. Every aspect of our lives is directly impacted by global events. The security of our cities is connected to the security of small hamlets in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. Our cost of living, the safety of our food , and the value of the things we invent, make and sell are just a few examples of everyday aspects of our lives that are directly related to events abroad and make it impossible for us to focus only on our issues here are home.

Rubio of course forgets that the 9/11 plot was hatched in the parts of Afghanistan that were under the control of a government, the Taliban.

No foreign policy speech in America would be complete without the prerequisite China bashing:

Responding to Alfonzo Rachel’s comments on libertarians

For those of you who have never heard of Alfonzo Rachel, he is a conservative commentator who recently joined PJTV team after becoming a viral success on YouTube:

AlfonZo Rachel is a musican and martial arts instructor who founded Macho Sauce Productions to create right-minded entertainment.  His popular rapid-fire rants, originally self-produced on YouTube,  have now found a home on PJTV.

His videos are a bit unorthodox among conservative pundits, which may have much to do with its appeal to younger conservatives and even some libertarians. Imagine my surprise, then, when I saw this:

‘Zo’ begins the video quite oddly by equating independents with libertarians. He then defines a libertarians as “just liberals that don’t have a love-hate relationship with capitalism.”

Then comes a key comment: “The Constitution does not say that the government can tax the fruits of our labor, or impose an income tax. Which makes total sense because the government would bleed the people dry like they’re doing now as they defy the Constitution.”

Replacing one war-happy President with another?

I’m often told by conservatives that in 2012, they would support literally anyone but Obama.  The basic suggestion is that Obama is so terrible, that a sack of oats would do a better job (Oats/Barley 2012!).  By not pledging my undying support for whomever the GOP nominates, then, I am in effect endorsing Obama.  Of course, many of these conservatives would change their tune if it were Ron Paul against Obama, but that’s not the important fact here.  What matters is the idea that any of the primary candidates would be better than the incumbent.

One of these wannabes is Tim Pawlenty, former Governor of Minnesota.  While governor, Pawlenty established a fairly decent record.  There are a number of things that make him preferable in my eyes to his principle opponent, Mitt Romney.  Leaving aside his often infuriating pandering to social conservatives, Pawlenty, at least up to this point, has been one of the few mainstream candidates that I could find myself able to support.

But some comments he made on Tuesday have caused me to seriously question this position.  In speaking to the Council on Foreign Relations, Pawlenty continued what has become a very alarming tendency to embrace the same reckless hawkishness that many conservatives have found themselves criticizing in Obama.  Perhaps the most troubling quote from the speech is the suggestion that he would only consult Congress as a “courtesy” when engaging in war overseas.  This is a position that makes him even more dangerous than Bush or Obama.

Standing up for principles isn’t a conservative position apparently

As a libertarian, I’m obviously a fan of Ron Paul.  I don’t agree with everything he says, but I think he brings up some valid points.  He’s also known for sticking to his principles.  Because of this, the Young Americans for Freedom have “purged” him from their advisory board due to his anti-war stance.

From the group’s press release:

(Washington DC – 2/12/11) The National Board of Young Americans for Freedom (YAF)—America’s oldest conservative-libertarian activist group—has, per curium, voted to purge Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) from YAF’s National Advisory Board.

YAF’s concern with Rep. Paul stems from his delusional and disturbing alliance with the fringe Anti-War movement.

“It is a sad day in American history when a one-time conservative-libertarian stalwart has fallen more out of touch with America’s needs for national security than the current feeble and appeasing administration,” said YAF’s Senior National Director Jordan Marks.

Paul, who had served on the YAF Advisory Board for more than two decades, was awarded with YAF’s highest honor, the Guardian of Freedom award, an honor Rep. Paul has touted on his biography for many years. Only a decade ago, Dr. Paul praised YAF’s work on the House floor. Paul called YAF’s founding document, the Sharon Statement “a great document explicating the philosophy of freedom.”

The Sharon Statement, clearly states: “American foreign policy must be judged by this criterion: does it serve the just interests of the United States?”

Today in Liberty: Economy shed 523,000 full-time jobs in June, conservative groups take IRS scandal to federal court

“Governments never learn. Only people learn.” — Milton Friedman

— Yeah, about June’s jobs report: On Thursday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 288,000 jobs were added in June. That sounds great on the surface, but the devil is in the details. “The Labor Department’s household survey reveals that the economy lost 523,000 full-time jobs in June. At the same time, it gained an astounding 799,000 part-time jobs - the largest such monthly jump in two decades. Part-time jobs now top 28 million for the first time since last July,” the Washington Examiner notes. “This shift to part-time labor is an echo from June 2013, when the economy added 360,000 part-time jobs and shed 240,000 full-time ones. So why has history thus seemingly repeated itself? One possibility is that Obama decided last July to delay Obamacare’s employer mandate from 2014 to 2015.” Interestingly, Politico ran a story over the weekend pointing out that many Obamacare supporters are now “abandoning the employer mandate” because the provision of the law does “more harm than good.” The relevant data from the June jobs report can be found here (under “full- or part-time status”).

Hey, neocons, Dick Cheney is irrelevant — maybe it’s time to find someone new

It has been entertaining to watch former Vice President Dick Cheney. He’s become a “thing” again as neoconservatives raise hell about the resurgence of the Islamic militants in Iraq as the latest failure of President Barack Obama’s foreign policy.

Cheney appeared on Fox News last week and was grilled by host Megyn Kelly over an op-ed he and his daughter, Liz, had written in the Wall Street Journal.

“[T]ime and time again, history has proven that you got it wrong as well in Iraq, sir,” Kelly told Cheney. “You said there were no doubts Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. You said we would be greeted as liberators. You said the Iraq insurgency was in the last throes back in 2005. And you said that after our intervention, extremists would have to, quote, ‘rethink their strategy of Jihad.’”

“Now with almost a trillion dollars spent there with 4,500 American lives lost there,” she continued, “what do you say to those who say, you were so wrong about so much at the expense of so many?”

Cheney, of course, didn’t back down. He defended the now-debunked intelligence showing that that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and claimed that “[i]t would have been irresponsible for us not to act” and that the Bush administration “did do the right thing” by toppling Saddam Hussein’s regime.

Rand Paul: Republican has to undergo “a transformation”

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) fears that the Republican Party will not win another presidential election unless it undergoes “a transformation” by developing a message that can reach young people and minorities:

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) made a bold prediction about the remaining presidential elections in his lifetime during an interview with Glenn Beck that aired Thursday.

“I think Republicans will not win again in my lifetime … unless they become a new GOP, a new Republican Party,” Paul said evenly. “And it has to be a transformation. Not a little tweaking at the edges.”
[…]
The primary goal, Paul said, is to present the “ideas of liberty” to everyone.

“There are many people who are open among all these disaffected groups, who really aren’t steadfast supporters of Obama or an ideology,” Paul asserted. “I think they’re open to listening, but we have to have a better message and a better presentation of it.”

“There is a struggle going on within the Republican Party,” Paul admitted. “I tell people it’s not new, and I’m not ashamed of it. I’m proud of the fact that there is a struggle. And I will struggle to make the Republican Party a different party, a bigger party, a more diverse party, and a party that can win national elections again.”


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