Rand Paul’s Presidential Aspirations Death Watch Update

Wherein Rand Paul helpfully provides confirmation bias vis. my “Rand Paul Is Dangerous” post of a mere four days ago:

Apparently those tantalizing poll numbers from New Hampshire have Paul the Younger feeling a bit sparky. All good, Drone Boy. Forget that it’s April, 2014, and that the 2016 general election is more than 2-1/2 years away. Show us your hand early. Meaning, please do remind us on regular basis that the outlier beliefs you let slip in the day (that you’re trying to nuance away from) are what you still believe.

For some reason, Paul the Younger decided to vent in National Review, of all places, about the push-back he has been receiving in response to his incoherent–and more than a bit asinine–Washington Post op-ed. Perhaps Rand was responding to Ramesh Ponnuru’s link to a piece the latter did for Bloomberg. Rather hard to tell, since Rand leans heavily on petulant generalities and unnamed neocon strawmen in his National Review piece.

Rand’s public butthurt begins:

The knives are out for conservatives who dare question unlimited involvement in foreign wars.

Ah. Are we to the nuanced part yet?

I can’t help but wonder if he first wrote long knives, but then thought better of it.

And “unlimited involvement in foreign wars”? Dude. A slight variation on the nonsense that caught my ear about “endless wars” during his grandstanding drone filibuster. A silly, hyperbolic straw man.

Foreign policy, the interventionist critics claim, has no place for nuance or realism. You are either for us or against us. No middle ground is acceptable. The Wilsonian ideologues must have democracy worldwide now and damn all obstacles to that utopia. I say sharpen your knives, because the battle once begun will not end easily.

Interventionist? But it’s not fair to call you an isolationist, right?

So advocates of realpolitik, as distinct from reflexive paleo-libertarian-anarcho non-interventionism of the sort you seem to regularly embrace, are fleeing from realism?  Oh.

For or against? Is this from your presumably forthcoming memoir, Nightmares Of My Dad?

What is this middle ground you speak of, Rand? The middle ground that your “interventionist” neocon enemies, per your formulation, occupy?

Damn! Wilsononian, eh?

This is multiple-false dichotomy straw man asshat claptrap worthy of the sort of fascism you project on your ideological opponents.

And then, for good measure, the knives metaphor is repeated like a crappy chorus in a crappier song. Doesn’t make you sound paranoid at all. Nope.

Conservatives who want to read libertarian conservatives out of the movement should reread some old copies of National Review first.

Anyone get the feeling that this is a Twitter conversation with a Leftist, right before ones Algonquin Roundtable interlocutor suggests that you turn off Fox News and read a book once in awhile?

From Frank Meyer to William F. Buckley Jr. to George Will — indeed, to Ronald Reagan — there is a strain of libertarianism endemic to conservatism.

I’ll cut you some slack on the use of the word “endemic,” and assume you weren’t using it in the epidemiological sense.

George Will might have a thing or two to say about that, or at least about your invocation of him in the service of your simplistic argument. Since the other folks are all dead, it was nice you invoked one person who could respond to your assertions.

Rand goes on to paraphrase Meyer, expropriate Buckley, and to predictably invoke Iraq as the alpha and omega of neocon interventionism like any paleo and/or Leftist worth the name. Ho hum.

Later in the piece comes the dog whistle:

According to Peter Beinart, Norman Podhoretz, one of the founding neoconservatives, wrote that “in the use of military power, Mr. Reagan was much more restrained” than his more hawkish fans had hoped.

So either Rand Paul doesn’t know (which he surely must, given his lineage and occasionally reckless choice of ideological soul mates) that he just engaged in dog whistling–or else he does.

And so Paul the Younger concludes:

So as today’s young aspiring Buckleyites sharpen their knives to carve up conservatives who propose a more realist and nuanced approach to foreign policy, they should realize they’re also pointing daggers at some of their own.

So now it’s daggers? (Well, at least there’s a bit of variety there.) First a couple of vague Sturmabteilung allusions, and then a bit of Julius Caesar?

Not a bit surprisingly, some folks at National Review were having none of this farce: Ramesh Ponnuru writes a bit like someone politely scraping something off his shoe, and Quin Hillyer expands on Ramesh’s remarks.

We have a real bullshit artist on our hands here, folks. The fruit hasn’t fallen nearly as far from the tree as we may have imagined in 2010.

(As for Iraq, which the paleo-libertarian-anarcho non-interventionists so love to invoke as proof of their view of neocons–meaning everyone who disagrees with them–as unregenerate perpetual warmongers, not all of us thought that war was a particularly good idea. And ironically, many of us thought that that war was not a particularly good idea precisely because of the existential threat that Iran represents. But that’s a post for another day. Suffice it to say that support of the Iraq war is not in itself proof that one is ergo a nation-building, warmongering, ProgressiveLite interventionist–and Rand Paul bloody well knows it.)

 

Thanks to @talkradio200 and @AG_Conservative for putting me onto the posts.

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