The war is on – no, not that war, this war: I’m talking about the GOP establishment’s war on Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, whose presidential campaign has taken wing and soared. And it isn’t just the Karl Roves and Peter Kings of this world who are up in arms over the prospect of an anti-interventionist libertarian in the White House: they’re getting plenty of tactical support from “liberals” like David Corn.
Why do they hate him?
The Rovians hate him because he challenges the whole Fox News-neocon right-wing paradigm that has kept the GOP a dwindling minority party ever since the Bush era ended with a whimper. The progressives hate him because he is the most likely candidate – at the moment – to be facing Hillary Clinton in 2016, and they know they’ll have a hard time selling a candidate who still refuses to second guess her 2003 vote for the Iraq war. So the two groups have a common enemy – which, in politics, is enough to cement a working alliance between two supposedly antithetical forces.
Of course they aren’t really antithetical: while Establishment Republicans and Establishment Democrats duke it out every election, it’s not an ideological fight so much as a battle for the spoils. And when it comes to foreign policy, “politics stops at the water’s edge,” as that old reprobate Arthur Vandenberg used to say: left and right are united for the Empire.
That explains why Mother Jones Washington correspondent David Corn popped up with footage of Rand Paul attacking Dick Cheney for switching his position on Iraq. Corn rips Rand’s remarks out of a half hour long talk, in the relevant portion of which, Sen. Paul – who wasn’t a Senator yet, he was campaigning for his father – goes into a long disquisition on the military-industrial complex. Citing Eisenhower and answering critics who say Ron Paul is weak on defense, Rand cites Cheney’s answer to neoconnish questions about why George Herbert Walker Bush didn’t go all the way to Baghdad during the first Gulf war: there would be a civil war, there would be “chaos, we’d be sucked into a quagmire. In short, all the reasons Ron and Rand gave for opposing Bush II’s invasion. Rand goes on to opine:
“And this is Dick Cheney saying this. But, you know, a couple hundred million dollars later Dick Cheney earns from Halliburton, he comes back into government. Now Halliburton’s got a billion-dollar no-bid contract in Iraq. You know, you hate to be so cynical that you think some of these corporations are able to influence policy, but I think sometimes they are. Most of the people on these [congressional] committees have a million dollars in their bank account all from different military-industrial contractors. We don’t want our defense to be defined by people who make money off of the weapons.”