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Rand Paul and Ted Cruz: The Breakup That Wasn’t

The recent war of words over foreign policy between senators Rand Paul [1] and Ted Cruz [2]—both potential 2016 nominees—has many on the right bemoaning the rift between the two. But it’s no shock to those of us who’ve paid attention over the past two years. “What breakup?” we wondered. “When were these two ever similar candidates?”

As recently as last month, conservatives were making the two seem almost interchangeable. On his radio show, Glenn Beck mused that if he had to choose a GOP nominee right now it would be Cruz or Paul. Sean Hannity, his guest, agreed.

Perhaps “anti-establishment” is an accurate way to describe both Cruz and Paul. But foreign policy was something that no observer could ignore for as long as most did. Cruz claims to be somewhere between John McCain-hawkishness and the “other end” of the spectrum, which he describes as Senator Paul. Putting aside whether it is accurate to imply Paul’s foreign policy is on an extreme end, is Cruz himself “in the middle”? How quickly we have forgotten Cruz’s nigh maniacal fits over Chuck Hagel’s nomination [3] as secretary of defense. Was there a fiercer hawk in the room? McCain, as a matter of fact, was more subdued on the matter.

As for Cruz’s opposition to intervention in Syria, it was most likely adopted for the same reasons many interventionist-minded rank-and-file Republicans were suddenly sounding like Ron Paul himself: because Obama was for it, which meant they were against it. Lest there be any doubt, Cruz told The Weekly Standard [4] this week that “he would have been open to aiding Syrian rebels if the administration had been able to identify nonjihadists among their ranks.”

How about Cruz’s #StandWithRand [5] on Senator Paul’s anti-drones filibuster? No true, self-respecting hawk would worry about drones, so essential to today’s interventionist adventures. Yes, Cruz did stand with Paul—but the Texas senator attended, at best, due to an overall interest in civil liberties; at worst, to snag the spotlight.

In other words, Cruz has shown no actual noninterventionist leanings. Contrast that with his consistency on Iran [6] or his recent statements on America’s role in the world. If foreign policy is a major issue for a voter—and for many it is and unquestionably should be—there can be no “Eh, I could go with either Paul or Cruz.” They were never together, thus there was never a breakup.

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Comments Disabled To "Rand Paul and Ted Cruz: The Breakup That Wasn’t"

#1 Comment By Jake Lukas On March 20, 2014 @ 4:48 pm

On this momentous non-occasion, I’ve composed a song for Ted Cruz to sing:

You you you
Dove doobie dove dove dove
Commie, Commie, dove doobie dove dove dove
Commie, Commie, dove doobie dove dove dove
Breaking up is hard to do

Don’t take your fans away from me
Don’t you leave the right in misery
If you go it’s a win for blue
Cause breaking up is hard to do

Remember when you stood upright
And filibustered through the night
Then I could be seen with you
And breaking up is hard to do

They say that breaking up is hard to do
Now I know
I know that it’s true
Don’t say that this is the end
Instead of breaking up I wish that we’d fight Obama again

Why can’t we campaign against spies?
Can’t we give shutdown another try?
Come on, baby, let’s start anew
Cause breaking up is hard to do

Commie, Commie, dove doobie dove dove dove
Commie, Commie, dove doobie dove dove dove
Commie, Commie, dove doobie dove dove dove
Commie, Commie, dove doobie dove dove

#2 Comment By Reader On March 20, 2014 @ 9:44 pm

I gave money to Ron Paul’s presidential campaigns and Rand Paul’s senate campaign. Never again.

Rand Paul has proven himself to be a complete fool. Not only is there his support of mass Third World immigration and increased legal immigration (all driving down the wages of Americans) but also all his flip-flopping and ingratiating himself to the neocons. I hope someone primaries Rand so I can give money to his opponent.

#3 Comment By balconesfault On March 21, 2014 @ 12:22 am

I’m not sure if it’s possible … but it might be best for the GOP and for the conservative movement at large if Ted Cruz could just be ignored for about 24 months – an imposed “time out” for him to learn a few things and perhaps even engage in some self-reflection before anyone is expected to take his bluster seriously.

#4 Comment By Puller58 On March 21, 2014 @ 6:50 am

Both men are unserious grifters. Nothing more and nothing less. Their foreign policy babblings should be treated with contempt and disdain.

#5 Comment By Clint On March 21, 2014 @ 11:20 am

Rand Paul watched and learned, as the neoconservative faction and media agendists worked to smear up and marginalize his dad,Ron Paul.
Rand Paul is building a level of respect from Kentucky,to The Tea Party,to The Senate,to Israel,to Howard,to Berkeley going forward to the 2016 Presidential primaries and general election.