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Opening Arguments

Yes, boots on the ground can leave small footprints

Mollie Hemingay at the Federlist: Why calling Rand Paul an isolationist is and was stupid.

Preferring a smaller international military footprint is hardly isolationism. It could simply indicate support for good old-fashioned statesmanship, propriety, conservatism, or even just an acknowledgement of limited human and financial resources. Certainly there are people whose idea of national defense is so limited that it might be called isolationism — and Paul is certainly closer to these people than Dick Cheney is. But people who believe in robust trade between nations, healthy use of diplomacy — but also not bombing most of the countries that have serious problems — these aren’t isolationists! And Rand Paul and others whose view of limited government extends to our foreign military entanglements are not accurately termed isolationists. Yes, it’s kind of tricky for AP writers and more bellicose members of the right to get this because Rand Paul is of course the son of Ron Paul and, well, sometimes his foreign policy views tend toward extremes.

Though this does remind me of something I’ve been fond of saying for a while. Which is that Rand Paul is what you’d get if Ron Paul and a normal person had a baby, and this is exactly what happened.

In that same Assoociated Press article, which talked about Republicans "who prefer a smaller international footprint" as taking the "soc-called isolationist approach" (and got Mollie so exercised, Paul is quoted as saying that if he were president, he would "call a joing session of Congress," lay out "the reasoning of why ISIS is a threat to our national security" and "seek congressional authorization to destroy ISIS militarily." He recognizes a national security threat and is willing to use the military to deal with it? What the hell is isolationist about that? It sounds a whole lot more in engaged than the lead-from-behind passivity we've been getting lately.

Mollie again:

Paul recognizes both the leadership role the president should have and the authorization role that Congress has. This is from that 100+-years-old Constitution you’ve heard so much about.

Limited government, the driving force of Paul's politics, means limited government, both domestically and in foreing involvements. But when we need to act, we act. Sounds pretty sane to me.