Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is a national joke and anyone who thinks he’d make a swell president needs to pay a little more attention to the, you know, news. Yesterday, we reported the freshman senator’s latest in a bottomless cup of flip-flops in which he said, on the record, that he’d intervene militarily against the Islamic State, aka ISIS. Prior to being obviously hawkish, Paul condemned Hillary Clinton for being a hawk on the Middle East. Now he’s backpedaling on his flirtation with intervention. Surprise, surprise. Let’s review.
Back in June, Rand Paul had serious reservations about air-strikes against ISIS forces in Iraq.
What would airstrikes accomplish? We know that Iran is aiding the Iraqi government against ISIS. Do we want to, in effect, become Iran’s air force? What’s in this for Iran? Why should we choose a side, and if we do, who are we really helping?
But on Tuesday, after news broke about a second beheading of an American journalist by ISIS terrorists, Rand Paul said:
In an emailed comment… Paul elaborated by saying: “If I were President, I would call a joint session of Congress. I would lay out the reasoning of why ISIS is a threat to our national security and seek congressional authorization to destroy ISIS militarily.”
That brings us to Wednesday when Paul said this to Sean Hannity on Fox News Channel:
“So I also think that Turks really should be enjoined in this. And I do think that there can be a role for America. But I would rather see the president come to a joint session of Congress, [ask] for permission, and if he gets it, I still would like to see the ground troops and the battles being fought by those who live there. We can give both technological as well as air support. That could be the decisive factor in this.”
Okay, sure, it’s not a complete reversal from Tuesday, but it’s a significant backpedal from seeking authorization for the U.S. to “destroy ISIS militarily.” Instead of doing all the destroying, Rand Paul would essentially hang back and let Iraq and Turkey do most of the ground fighting. That said, it’s a massive reversal from his opposition to air-strikes back in June. (I hasten to note that my criticism of Paul is based solely on his total lack of core values and increasingly hilarious roster of flip-flops. The U.S. strategy on ISIS is a separate conversation.)
So, where does Rand stand on ISIS or anything else? We still have no idea, and it’s increasingly clear that he doesn’t know either — on this and a long list of other issues. Talk about not having a strategy. Speaking of which, what does Paul have to say about President Obama’s approach?
“Do you think General Patton had a strategy before he went to battle? Do you think Douglas MacArthur had a strategy before he went to battle? How about General Eisenhower, do you think he had a strategy…You know what I think? If the President has no strategy, maybe it’s time for a new president.”
Oh, yeah, it’s time for a president like Rand Paul who totally has a strategy — which is to not have any strategies that survive for more than a few minutes. His only consistent strategy is the one in which he says whatever’s necessary to get elected, even if it directly contradicts something he just said.
At this rate, by the weekend, Rand Paul will have taken every imaginable position on ISIS, including condemnations of his own prior positions. Because he has a strategy.