Rand Paul’s War Paint

At the Daily Beast, Olivia Nuzzi extensively covers Rand Paul’s efforts to rebrand his foreign policy views as remote from “isolationism” or even “non-interventionism.” She convincingly thinks he’ll land on “realism” as a self-identifier, putting him into safe Republican territory associated with Eisenhower and Poppy Bush (also Richard Nixon, though I’m sure Team Paul would like to avoid that association), if not the Sainted Ronald Reagan.

Nuzzi spends some time wondering how much flexibility with his own past the denizens of the Ron Paul Revolution will allow him. I figure quite a bit; libertarians (or paleoconservatives or however you identify them) are no more immune to the allure of having one of their own in a position of power, and many of them have longed for a takeover (hostile or friendly) of the GOP for ages.

But words aside, it makes you wonder what kind of foreign policy Paul would initiate if, God forbid, he were to be elected president.

From many years of experience with Democrats fearful of their party’s image of being allergic to the use of military force, I have a feeling a President Paul would be tempted to find a splendid little war with low casualties and certain success in which he could put on the war paint and dispel the i-word for good. On that front, of course, the Sainted Reagan was a model. I don’t know where the next Grenada might be found, but I betcha some people–perhaps in both parties–are looking.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.