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Rand Paul and Chuck Hagel

Jennifer Rubin tells [1] Rand Paul to vote against Hagel:

Moreover, the senator’s obvious desire to convey pro-Israel credentials will make it difficult for him to vote to confirm. With near-unanimity among Republicans so far against Hagel, Paul may find that his efforts to reposition himself within the GOP on Israel would crumble if he were to support the president’s pick.

Put more bluntly, Rubin wants to make it clear that Paul’s efforts will be in vain if he chooses to vote for Hagel’s confirmation. That should tell Sen. Paul just how fruitless it is to try to satisfy “pro-Israel” hawks. It isn’t enough for these hawks that a politician supports the current U.S.-Israel relationship. If it were, Hagel would be encountering much less hostility right now. Republican politicians are expected to agree with these hawks on everything, and if they don’t they are viewed with suspicion and distrust. The assault on Hagel is similar to what Paul can expect in the future, and voting against Hagel now will just encourage the hard-liners in his party to think that he will follow their lead. Presumably, Paul isn’t always going to vote for what the hard-liners want, and now would be a good time to show everyone that he isn’t going to be intimidated by them.

On matters of policy, Paul is still much closer to Hagel than he is to Hagel’s Republican opponents. Like Hagel, he is skeptical of military action against Iran, and he is also much more willing to consider reductions in military spending than most of his colleagues. Paul has been trying to broaden the meaning of being “pro-Israel” even more than Hagel did. How likely would he be to succeed in that if he votes against Hagel’s confirmation because hard-liners have declared that Hagel’s modest dissents are intolerable? Paul has expressed interest in moving the GOP towards a less aggressive foreign policy, and that begins by not falling in line behind the supporters of the Republican foreign policy status quo.

When it comes time to vote on Hagel’s nomination, there is something else that Sen. Paul might bear in mind. The campaign to vilify Hagel includes many of the same people who loathe Sen. Paul’s father and everything that his father’s movement represents. If they are willing to trash the reputation of someone like Hagel, they will be more than willing to do the same to Paul in the years to come.

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13 Comments To "Rand Paul and Chuck Hagel"

#1 Comment By Sharculese On January 17, 2013 @ 1:32 pm

Are you planning on writing something about Paul’s… interesting comments on an Iron Dome style missile shield for DC? I’d love to hear what you have to say.

#2 Comment By Avi Marranazo On January 17, 2013 @ 1:52 pm

This is Rand’s first real test in this Congress. I must say I’ve been rather disappointed with him since his election two years ago. If he fails this one, constitutional conservatives will have to look elsewhere for someone who approximates their views.

#3 Comment By collin On January 17, 2013 @ 2:06 pm

Yes, his comments about the Iron Dome over DC and NY are not suggesting a candidate who is following his father footsteps very well. (Also, his libertarian answer about not interferring with Israel sounds good but did not answer whether the Palenstian people should have a say on the settlements.) I am afraid Rand is falling into the Romney primary trap that he is going to have to severely neoconservative to win the 16 primary from Rubrio.

I do look forward to his vote and reasoning with Hagel now that Chuck is along for the ride.

#4 Comment By Grumpy Old Man On January 17, 2013 @ 2:20 pm

I’m suspicious of his efforts to cater a bit to the pro-Israel group, but I’ll give him a bye so far.

Voting against Hagel to appease these fanatics would be very sad.

#5 Comment By Clint On January 17, 2013 @ 3:06 pm

Senator Rand Paul isn’t a sell out stooge for any foreign nation.

” Paul said he intends to use Hagel’s nomination to press the former Nebraska senator on whether he would support the reform of how the United States doles out arms and military aid to foreign countries, especially those that don’t follow policies that are in the American national security interest.

“It’s an opportunity to talk about the issue and get his opinion about our aid to foreign countries. I would like to ask and will ask [him] whether or not they are aware of the world we live in. Everybody seems to be aware of it, but nobody is changing policy,” Paul said. “

#6 Comment By Jim Dooley On January 17, 2013 @ 4:53 pm

Is it true that there is “near-unanimity among Republicans so far against Hagel?” I missed this, but if it is true, it calls to mind LBJ’s remark about Jerry Ford playing too much football without a helmet except in this instance he’d be talking about the entire team. Eating your own is really too much.

#7 Comment By SDS On January 17, 2013 @ 6:42 pm

“Senator Rand Paul isn’t a sell out stooge for any foreign nation”…

Let’s hope as well that he isn’t a sell-out to the nuts in his party……

#8 Comment By James Canning On January 17, 2013 @ 7:19 pm

Is Rand Paul concerned about all the US military and other aid to Israel, when Israel clearly flouts the security interests of the US? By growing the illegal colonies in the West Bank, year in and year out.

#9 Comment By memento moron On January 17, 2013 @ 11:00 pm

It’s really too funny. Jennifer Rubin does to Hagel what her comrade-in-arms Dorothy Rabinowitz did to Rand Paul, and tries to get Rand Paul to help her do it! What narcissists these people must be, to imagine that their enemies are as stupid as they are …

#10 Comment By Rojo On January 18, 2013 @ 12:13 am

I’m not a huge fan of Ron Paul, although I often like what he has to say on foreign policy, so I haven’t been following Sen. Paul very closely, beyond when he comes up on this site or other sites that I frequent, but it seems to me that he’s fallen pretty far from the elder’s trunk. Can anyone who’s been paying closer attention to the Sen. and the Paulite movement say what they think of the current relation between the two?

#11 Comment By William Dalton On January 18, 2013 @ 4:12 am

Rand Paul will never get the votes of the Hagel critics in any run for the Presidency and he would be a fool to try. The campaign to build a larger coalition than the non-interventionists and opponents of fiat currency who supported his father depends upon winning two other brands of Republicans who are disaffected with the party’s present leadership – those who supported Pat Buchanan in his campaigns through 2000, and those who supported Chuck Hagel when he explored running for President in 2008. It would be a big tent Republican Party, including libertarians, conservative Catholics, confessional Christians, foreign policy realists, anti-imperalists, fiscal conservatives, pacifists, Constitutional originalists and strict constructionists, states’ rightests, pro-life and pro-gun, as well as those supporting ending the Fed and establishing hard currency, withdrawing from foreign wars and establishing foreign relations on the basis of principles of free trade. This disparate set of political interests would often quarrel with one another, but they will bind together to defeat their common enemies – inside and outside of the Republican Party.

If Rand Paul drops this mantle, someone else will pick it up.

#12 Comment By ABE GOLD On January 18, 2013 @ 11:37 am

Republicans want to win? Do not spend social security taxes on wars! Make social security and Medicare right by not spending the money in them for policing the world!

AMERICA FIRST COMMITTEE . Americans first not that is a winning platform.

#13 Comment By Uncle Vanya On January 18, 2013 @ 11:52 pm

People had talked about Rand Paul being Ron Paul’s succesor. But, since Rand has decided to put the needs of the US second to Israel’s, this will never happen.