Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Rand Paul Backs Away from His Full Endorsement of Mitt Romney

Here is a strange one.

Rand Paul has issued a statement in National Review where he writes his views on  the grounds for attacking Iran are different from those of Mitt Romney.

Here's where the strangeness begins. National Review is considered by many in the libertarian movement to be a publication launched by William F. Buckley with the aid of the CIA.

In 1997, The Rothbard-Rockwell Report informed:
The armchair warriors in the neoconservative camp and the inveterate interventionists at National Review can both trace their roots straight back to the propaganda efforts of the CIA... The official line holds that National Review was founded in an intellectual vacuum, and, for all intents and purposes, created conservatism in America. But events, as are most often the case, were not that simple. The idea for National Review originated with Willi Schlamm, a hard-line interventionist and feature editor with the Old Right Freeman. At odds with the isolationism of the right, Schlamm was well-known for his belligerence, having demanded that the United States go to war over Formosa.

One person in a position to know more details about the founding of NR was the late classicist and right-winger Revilo Oliver. Although late in life Oliver was associated most closely with extremist racialism, in the 50s, he was an influential member of the Buckley inner circle, a regular contributor to National Review and a member of Bill Buckley’s wedding party. Later, he went on to serve as a founding board member of the John Birch Society, until his break with the Society’s founder Robert Welch.

In his autobiography, Oliver explains that the National Review was conceived as a way to put the isolationist Freeman out of business...

Buckley, by 1955, had already been in deep cover for the CIA. While there is some confusion as to the actual duration of Buckley’s service as an agent, Judis notes that he served under E. Howard Hunt of Watergate fame in Mexico City in 1951. Buckley was directed to the CIA by Yale Professor Wilmoore Kendall, who passed Buckley along to James Burnham, then a consultant to the Office Of Policy Coordination, the CIA’s covert-action wing.

Buckley apparently had a knack for spying: before his stint with the Agency, he had served as an on-campus informant for the FBI, feeding God only knows what to Hoover’s political police. In any case, it is known that Buckley continued to participate at least indirectly in CIA covert activities through the 60s.

The founding circle of National Review was composed largely of former agents or men otherwise in the pay of the CIA, including Buckley, Kendall, and Burnham. Wall Street lawyer William Casey, rooted in OSS activities and later to be named director of the CIA, drew up the legal documents for the new magazine. (He also helped transfer Human Events from isolationist to interventionist hands.)

NR required nearly half a million to get off the ground; the only substantial contribution known was from Will Buckley, Senior: $100,000. It’s long been rumored that CIA black funds were used to start the magazine, but no hard evidence exists to establish it. It may also be relevant that the National Review was organized as a nonprofit venture, as covert funding was typically channeled through foundations.
Lew Rockwell has pointed out that
NR hates Murray Rothbard, Ron Paul, Albert Jay Nock, H.L. Mencken, Garett Garrett, John T. Flynn
In other words, Rand's choice of venue for his statement is kind of like him speaking against antisemitism, while tooling around in a World War II German panzer.

Here's some of the war mongering stuff that goes on at NR:
A president need not wait until an attack is imminent before taking action. Iranian nuclear capabilities would cause a radical reversal of the balance of power, and that fact justifies action in itself...Our forces would have to destroy Iranian air-defense sites, but otherwise, thanks to precision-guided missiles and drones, they could concentrate on a few links in the Iranian nuclear chain: the centrifuge facilities where uranium is enriched, the assembly points for weapons, and perhaps missile and air-delivery systems...Nuclear-weapons infrastructure is a legitimate military target, even if some strikes may kill civilians.

But, let's move on to what Rand wrote.

In his NR statement Rand moves away from his position that Romney is solid on foreign policy, he writes:
I do not yet know if I will find a Romney presidency more acceptable on foreign policy. But I do know that I must oppose the most recent statements made by Mitt Romney in which he says he, as president, could take us to war unilaterally with Iran, without any approval from Congress. His exact words were:

I can assure you if I’m president, the Iranians will have no question but that I will be willing to take military action if necessary to prevent them from becoming a nuclear threat to the world. I don’t believe at this stage, therefore, if I’m president that we need to have a war powers approval or special authorization for military force. The president has that capacity now.

This is a misreading of the role of the president and Congress in declaring war.
Note well: Rand here is not saying he is against attacking Iran, just that he wants congressional approval--so its not a great anti-war leap, more of a call for a stamp of approval war.

Rand also seems to be moving away from his claim that Romney is close to Ron Paul with regard to views on the Fed. It's now all about Obama being a bad guy. Rand now writes:
I endorsed Governor Romney for many reasons, not the least of which is that we simply cannot afford four more years of President Obama. Obamacare, Dodd-Frank, an out-of-control EPA and NLRB, and trillion-dollar deficits are combining to strangle our economy. I am afraid if that chokehold is not released quickly, our country may quickly follow Europe into destruction. Anyone who doesn’t believe there is a difference between the two candidates on economic issues is simply not looking or not being honest with their assessments. 
Bottom line: Rand appears to have been re-working his politician math and realizes that the numbers don't work when you blow up your base. This one column is unlikely to be enough to bring the Ron Paulites back into the Rand Paul camp. But now I look forward to Rand explaining why he chose to reposition himself through of all vehicles, NR. Which is not only bad on foreign policy, but from where a senior editor of NR launched a crazed attack on Ron Paul's End the Fed views.

(ht Murray Sabrin)