In his New York Times op-ed column (“What Hath Rand Paul Wrought”), Russ Douthat applauds Senator Rand Paul’s filibuster against the nomination of John Brennan to head the CIA. Douthat believes Senator Paul has done the GOP a great service by highlighting issues it is embraced—“hair-trigger hawkishness and absolute deference to executive power”– that have made the Party a two-time presidential loser to Barack Obama.
Douthat rightfully criticizes America’s foreign policy disasters since 9/11, calling them “an intelligence fiasco”, a “botched occupation,” and a “squandering of American resources, credibility and lives.”
With that perspective Douthat still takes a swipe at the Kentucky senator’s father, retired congressman and two-time GOP presidential nominee Ron Paul, for his prescient prediction of the horrific consequences of an American invasion of Afghanistan and then Iraq. Instead, Douthat calls Ron Paul’s foreign policy views “isolationist ” and “eccentric” and asserts that the former congressman believes “we had it coming view” of terrorism. This is a smear.
The attacks on 9/11 were “blowback”—a point made by CIA analysts and others who have analyzed U.S. Middle East policies for decades. Ron Paul never said “America had it coming,” but that our interventionist polices in the Muslim world caused reactions, and the events on 9/11 were the direct result of those policies.
In addition, Douthat asserts that Rand Paul’s libertarianism, such as it is, and should not be embraced by his fellow Republicans. Why? Douthat has no answer why the GOP should not embrace the ideals of libertarianism–free markets, civil liberties, sound money, and a noninterventionist foreign policy. Instead Douthat takes another attempted put-down of Ron Paul by citing the former congressman’s “crankishness.”
Douthat apparently loves politicians for their style and not their substantive beliefs. Otherwise, he would have written a paean about the liberty movement that Ron Paul ignited in 2008 and 2012. Instead Douthat’s op-ed reveals he is a shallow pundit who does not seek the truth about the federal government’s bankrupt policies, but a formula to elect another GOP president. Why another GOP president? The last one left us a legacy of bumping up the welfare-warfare state exponentially. Where was Douthat during the Bush years?