WASHINGTON, July 7, 2014– Catalyzed by the total failures of Iraq, Afghanistan, Benghazi and more, foreign policy has been the hot debate lately. Just over two years out from a new administration, which many predict will be of the Republican brand, and the arising noise of pundit and politician fills the air with commentary regarding the failures of American foreign policy. Some are blaming Obama (Karl Rove/Laura Ingram). Some are blaming Bush (Not Karl Rove/Laura Ingram. Like Obama and Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi D-Calif.). Fewest of them all are blaming Bush and Obama (Like U.S. Senator Rand Paul R-Ky.). For this, Paul has been attacked viciously by many in both parties.
Congressman Peter King R-N.Y. somehow gathered, “Paul’s foreign policy makes America the enemy.”, because the senator from Kentucky believes America should concern itself with strengthening its own borders to fight against de facto amnesty rather than sending young men and women to their death in order to secure the borders of Iraq.
Many have been more than willing to oblige in the attempted take down of Paul’s foreign policy.
However, a palpable shift has occurred, and now the media has been toying around with the idea that ‘maybe’ Paul is right. With articles titled, “What if Rand Paul is right on foreign policy?”, pundits now ask questions like, “Is Rand Paul the next generation-defining senator on American foreign policy?” Enough with the questions already. The battle is over– Paul won. But what’s fascinating— is how did it.
Paul is now a major player in the U.S. Senate. That’s a remarkable feat considering he has only been in the Senate for four years. The establishment now begrudgingly relies on him. Also, commanding attention across the country, Paul is a fundraising machine. These attributes make Paul strong. However, Paul has a secret weapon that is keeping establishment politicians up at night– Leadership.
Some have commented that Paul’s foreign policy approach is his greatest obstacle to the White House. However, by being an effective leader, Paul took this supposed ‘weakness’ and created his latest achievement. According to the latest polls, Paul has officially won the Republican party’s plurality of support on foreign policy.
In the latest April Journal poll of 1,000 adults, conducted June 11-15, 58% of the Republican respondents said the war in Afghanistan wasn’t worth it, compared with the 37% who believed it was. This illustrates an acute shift from January 2013, when just 37% of Republicans said the war wasn’t worth it. An Annenberg survey conducted days later matched similar erosion in views regarding Iraq.
In the Annenberg Survey of 1,383 Americans, 46% of Republicans said the war in Iraq wasn’t worth it, compared with the 44% who said it was. The slipping support for intervention in Afghanistan was even more pronounced. The degrading support of hawk-inspired foreign policy among tea-party supporters was more dramatic than the slip among Republicans as a whole, with 63% saying the war in Afghanistan wasn’t worth it, compared with the 39% who held that view in January of 2013.
In another Journal poll from April, a plurality of Republicans said the U.S. should be less active in world affairs, 45%-29%.
The plurality of Republicans are now aligned with Paul on foreign policy. This sends a cold chill down the spines of hawkish Republicans hoping to prevent a 2016 Rand Paul Republican presidential nomination. However, the fact that, in addition to Republicans, the plurality of all Americans now align with Paul’s foreign policy paralyzes the spines of both Republicans and Democrats hoping to prevent a 2016 Rand Paul White House.
The Republican party and the rest of America are done with Karl Rove’s plan for the country’s world presence. Instead, they now prefer Paul’s more libertarian-centric brand of foreign policy.
“A complete absence of leadership was the catalyst resulting in Paul’s victory over the Republican party’s war on foreign policy.”
Paul treads where no others with his national clout will. Pragmatic, effective leadership is what makes Paul different.
Paul has already demonstrated that he can change public opinion across the country. He first accomplished this with a simple thirteen hour filibuster over Obama’s drone policy, and he’s more than willing to do it again. Overnight, Paul’s filibuster slashed the public’s support of drone strikes 24%.
Next, Paul traveled to Berkeley, the most liberal college in America. Some hoped he would be shamed. Instead, he was greeted with a standing ovation.
Then, Paul traveled to Howard University, which is historically African-American, to speak about liberty and the future of freedom in America. Paul was hit hard by pundits, but shook it off. In Paul’s home state of Kentucky, 29% of African Americans said they would support Rand Paul for president. Compare Paul’s support at 29% of African Americans in his home state to McCain’s 4% in 2008, and Romney’s 6% in 2012.
After Paul campaigned to defeat him last September, he formed an alliance with Senator Corey Booker D- N.J. to fight the federal government on marijuana policy and voting rights. The two currently represent one of the Senate’s most interesting alliances fighting for civil rights. As it turns out, the majority of Americans oppose the federal government’s prohibition on marijuana. Furthermore, the majority of young Republican voters support legalization.
A complete absence of leadership was the catalyst resulting in Paul’s victory over the Republican party’s war on foreign policy.
Thus far, Paul has done more to influence public policy than perhaps any parallel figure. What has Chris Christie, Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, or any other figure being touted as a hopeful 2016 Republican presidential nominee done to truly change the hearts and minds of so many Americans? –The honest answer: Nothing at all.