Rand is circling back to some of the battle cries and priorities he voiced before throwing his hat into the presidential ring. Frankly, it’s good to see. Let’s break em’ down and count em’ up in this week’s “Pauluses & Minuses!”
Rand Cosponsors Amendment to Bar U.S. Troops From Going Back to Iraq
Rand has been fairly outspoken against the U.S. extending, once again, its never-ending war in Iraq. Yes, it’s a war America technically “won,” though the price that’s been paid was in no way worth the lives lost and billions spent in the name of “Operation Iraqi Freedom.” To that extent, Rand has stepped up to the plate to attempt to strike down any possibility of our troops being deployed on Iraqi soil. From Rare:
Senator Christopher Murphy (D-Conn.) has introduced an amendment, which is co-sponsored by Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.), that would effectively ban the deployment of U.S. ground forces in the fight against the Islamic State.
Here’s the text of the amendment:
No funds appropriated by this Act may be used to support the deployment of the United States Armed Forces for the purpose of ground combat operations in Iraq or Syria, except as necessary-
For the protection or rescue of members of the United States Armed Forces or United States citizens from imminent danger posed by ISIL; or
To conduct missions not intended to result in ground combat operations by United States forces, such as-
intelligence collection and sharing;
enabling kinetic strikes
limited operations against high value targets;
operational planning; or
other forms of advice and assistance to coalition forces fighting ISIL in Iraq or Syria
Rand is swimming against a very strong current here, and naturally that’s drawing attacks from GOP nemesis Lindsay Graham, who took some swings at Rand’s foreign policy views recently. Let Graham knock arrows all day long for all I care – Rand is in the right here. Iraq needs to stand on its own without an endless supply of U.S. troops, many of whom will inspire the very blowback in terrorist activity that they are meant to dissuade. This is another great differentiating factor for Rand vs. the rest of the GOP field, most of whom are essentially clones in terms of ideology, especially in the realm of foreign policy.
Paul Eschews GOP Power Gatherings in Lieu of Grassroots Campaigning
Politico has an interesting story up about Rand’s choosing to skip many of the GOP “cattlecall” events, including one hosted by ol’ HairTeeth himself, Mitt Romney.
The Kentucky Republican was noticeably absent from last week’s so-called Roast and Ride, a rollicking get-together hosted by Paul’s colleague, Sen. Joni Ernst, in Iowa. He turned down an invitation to former Gov. Mitt Romney’s gathering of presidential candidates in Utah this weekend in favor of a swing through Southern California. He skipped last month’s Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Oklahoma City (and his PATRIOT Act filibuster kept several other senators from attending as well). Earlier this year, he also took a pass on a prominent Iowa agriculture summit and a gathering of White House wannabes hosted by Iowa Rep. Steve King.
While Paul’s rivals for the Republican nomination have ricocheted from one high-profile Iowa gathering to the next, Paul’s been mounting a quieter series of solo events, skipping the impersonal cattle calls to burnish his image as a man untethered from conventional campaigning.
To his critics, it’s a risky strategy that could turn off activists he’ll need in January.
“Sen. Paul needs to do something his dad never could, and that’s grow his base of support,” said Tim Albrecht, a Republican strategist and former aide to Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, referencing former Texas Rep. Ron Paul’s three presidential bids. “Ignoring traditional Republicans is not a particularly effective tactic in Iowa, and if he hopes to be successful here, he’s got to engage the grass roots beyond his father’s loyal sycophants.”
From my viewpoint, the strategy is risky only financially, which is one place Rand is vulnerable. He’ll need the same grassroots support that father Ron received, unless certain liberty minded millionaires step up. The standard GOP campaign funders won’t be lining up to donate to Rand’s PACs, though one would think he would still receive some support from the military industrial complex, due to KY hosting some of the larger missile manufacturers in the country. Rand previously had raised a stink about a budget that would cut spending on Tomahawk missiles – something I roasted him for.
With this in mind, it’s no shock Rand is skipping events that are far more of a benefit to his opposition than himself, and instead is choosing to make additional campaign stops. With Rand’s ideology, which sits outside of the mainstream GOP, and calls for ideological change for the party as a whole, he needs to engage with these smaller audiences that may be more open to the message he brings, rather than participating in a dog and pony show for the power brokers who have already made up their minds about him. As US News points out, this is a strategy that has worked before – for Reagan, notably – and could indeed lead him to the White House.
It’s Rand vs. the GOP on 28 Pages of Classified 9/11 Documents
Not only does Rand not run with the herd for GOP events, but he also goes against the grain when it comes to the declassification of 28 pages of 9/11 documents. These pages have been kept secret by the government for unknown reasons, and Rand, like the rest of us, wants to make them available for public consumption. From the Daily Beast:
The Kentucky Republican has offered an amendment that would declassify 28 blacked-out pages from the post-9/11 report on the attacks. It’s an amendment that exactly zero of his fellow Senate Republicans support.
Back in 2003, 46 senators signed a letter urging President George W. Bush to declassify the redacted pages in the joint congressional inquiry.
Of those Senators, only two still stand by the request, and with Paul now, and both of them are Democrats. Rand stands alone as the sole GOP member who wants these documents declassified, and for the full truth about 9/11 (or at least as close to the truth as the report can be trusted to reveal) to be laid out.
Rand has read the pages. While presumably there is nothing contained that points to a “false flag” event, as cited in some conspiracy films and websites, there must be enough to warrant his standing strong on this issue. It’s rumored the classified pages pretty firmly indicate Saudi Arabia as the main financier of the 9/11 attack, which would prove to be a difficult situation for our “ally” and also completely lay bare the ridiculousness of the Afghanistan war, which still goes on today. A country in turmoil, rife with more terrorists now than when the campaign began, and meanwhile the (rumored) true culprit sits pretty, untouched.
I’m sure that wouldn’t sit too well, especially with the GOP warhawks.
If nothing else, this amendment indicates Rand’s dedication to transparency in government. It also highlights Rand’s dedication to the people of this country over his own political gain – something virtually every Senator seems to have forgotten.
Yet another clean sweep for Rand! It pleases me he’s been coloring in the lines of liberty lately, though all this positivity is making me itch. Keep up the good work, Rand – but know…I’m waiting for that slip up!
The Current “Paulus-Minus” Tally:
66 Pauluses / 22 Minuses / 4 Push
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