It is one thing to say “I am a Republican Senator from he great state of Kentucky and like the majority of my state I will gladly vote for our party’s nominee in November.” It is quite another to tout Mitt Romney as a man with a sensible foreign-policy vision.
That’s exactly right. What makes this part of Sen. Paul’s endorsement so unfortunate is that it was entirely unnecessary. There were several ways that he could have handled his differences with Romney on foreign policy that would have been more satisfactory. The easiest would have been to fall back on the overused line that someone in agreement with you 80% of the time is your ally. That would not have created the impression that Paul believes Romney’s foreign policy to be sound. One has to hope that Paul doesn’t actually think this, but that is what he said. At the same time, it would have avoided emphasizing those differences when the point of the endorsement is to do the opposite. Another way would have been to find some foreign policy issue where he and Romney are more or less in agreement, if there is such a thing. Perhaps he could have found some common ground on foreign aid spending. Failing that, it would have been better to avoid saying anything on the subject.
Sen. Paul’s comments wouldn’t have been quite as worrisome if Romney belonged to the Republican realist tradition. There would still be many disagreements on specific policies, but it wouldn’t be so incredible to conclude that such a person wasn’t unduly reckless. Romney is nothing like that. If anything, his foreign policy views represent the complete repudiation of foreign policy realism inside the GOP. At least Huntsman admirers had a little something to back up their arguments in his favor. Romney has given the public no reason to expect anything but the worst in the conduct of foreign policy by his administration if he is elected.