To say that Rand Paul is a controversial figure is a gross understatement, but critics who confuse the father, Ron, with the son and who write the son off as a fringe figure are missing something.
I don’t agree with him that revenue shouldn’t be part of a grand bargain or that defense (the only area of government that has already seen real cuts) should cough up more, but neither do I hear him trying to mount a filibuster. And I do think that if conservative hawks are going to preserve a responsible level of defense spending, they will need to put forth a sound process for reforming Pentagon appropriations, health care, etc.
I have had in the past grave qualms about Paul’s foreign policy views, but I don’t think all of his views lack merit...
And while I vehemently disagree with the notion that we should eliminate aid to Israel, he is right when he says, “We currently give about $4 billion annually to Israel in foreign aid. But we give about $6 billion to the nations that surround Israel, many of them antagonistic toward the Jewish state. Giving twice as much foreign aid to Israel’s enemies simply does not make sense. Our aid to Israel has always been to a country that has been an unequivocal ally. Our aid to its neighbors has purchased their temporary loyalty at best. These countries are not our true allies and no amount of money will make them so. They are not allies of Israel and I fear one day our money and military arms that we have paid for will be used against Israel.”
My point on these issues is that conservatives should persuade and discuss areas of difference, but it is a mistake to treat Paul as a clone of his father or a man incapable of maturation. And at a time when thoughtful hawks are revisiting issues like aid to Egypt, his views seem, even to those of us who disagree with his general bent, less wacky.
Moreover, he’s talking sense — a lot of sense — on issues of federalism and immigration reform.
Wow, just wow, boy are the neocons setting the honey out for Rand.