"Stand With Rand." That's Sen.
At a January forum with fellow Republican Sens.
Two months later, he was "ruining it" by putting his signature on an open letter to the Iranian leadership. Authored by arch-neoconservative Sen. Tom Cotton, the letter basically told Tehran that a Republican in the White House would nullify any deal negotiated by the Obama administration.
His explanation for this complete reversal was baffling. He told
He told a different story at the SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas. Claiming to support the diplomatic talks, he said: "I want the president to negotiate from a position of strength, which means that he needs to be telling them in Iran, 'I've got
How is it helpful to tell the Iranians that any agreement they sign may expire in two years? Cotton is nothing if not forthright: He has said he wants to "blow up" the negotiations, and certainly his letter aimed at doing just that. For Paul to join in this sabotage attempt was intellectually indefensible — and entirely in character.
As a U.S.-backed movement seized power in Kiev, Paul called for "respectful relations" with the Kremlin: "Some on our side are so stuck in the Cold War era that they want to tweak Russia all the time, and I don't think that is a good idea."
A few months later he was demanding that President
Paul's record of contradictions is extensive. In 2011, freshly elected to the Senate, Paul proposed an alternative budget that zeroed out all foreign aid — including to Israel. The budget included a section explicitly eliminating aid to Israel on the grounds that it undermined "Israel's ability to conduct foreign policy, regain economic dominance, and support itself without the heavy hand of U.S. interests and policies."
After the neoconservative wing of his party lashed out at him for being "anti-Israel," Paul started singing a different tune. His revised budget froze foreign aid at present levels. Yet even that modest attempt at fiscal discipline was thrown overboard when he voted to increase aid to Israel — and boasted about it in a statement issued by his office.
The most bizarre part of the story is that the senator's office insists that Paul "has never proposed any legislation that targeted Israel's aid." It's one thing to change one's mind — it's quite another to deny that any change has taken place.
Here's one last example. In June, Paul wrote an op-ed piece on the
Good questions, and yet it wasn't long before the senator was advocating airstrikes and calling for a formal declaration of war against Islamic State.
I'm a libertarian and I was, as recently as a few months ago, enthusiastic about Paul.
He started out as "a different kind of Republican" — a characterization his campaign never tires of invoking. But Paul's response to the barrage of attacks unleashed by GOP mandarins has been to deny this difference. This strategy threatens to nullify his attempt to broaden his appeal beyond conservative voters even as he alienates his libertarian base.
Justin Raimondo is the editorial director of Antiwar.com and a longtime libertarian activist.