Rand Paul

Rand Paul: He Might Endorse Romney, But He Doesn't Endorse His Foreign Policy

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Sen. Rand Paul at National Review with encouraging words for the libertarians and non-interventionists on Mitt Romney's recent pronouncements on presidential warmaking power:

Anyone who believes President Obama is less aggressive internationally than his predecessors is mistaken.

I do not yet know if I will find a Romney presidency more acceptable on foreign policy. But I do know that I must oppose the most recent statements made by Mitt Romney in which he says he, as president, could take us to war unilaterally with Iran, without any approval from Congress. His exact words were:

I can assure you if I'm president, the Iranians will have no question but that I will be willing to take military action if necessary to prevent them from becoming a nuclear threat to the world. I don't believe at this stage, therefore, if I'm president that we need to have a war powers approval or special authorization for military force. The president has that capacity now.

This is a misreading of the role of the president and Congress in declaring war. 

The Constitution clearly states that it is Congress that has the power to declare war, not the president. The War Powers Act also clearly states that U.S. forces are to engage in hostilities only if the circumstances are "pursuant to (1) a declaration of war, (2) specific statutory authorization or (3) a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces."

Absent these criteria, the president has no authority to declare war.

Even if the president believes he has such authority, the War Powers Act goes on to require the president to seek congressional approval within 60 days of conflict.

No president is above the law or above the Constitution….

I will hold accountable and oppose any actions from any president, Republican or Democrat, if he declares war without congressional consent.

Good on Sen. Paul. Even in cold political calculation mode, it shows he still knows the Ron Paul non-interventionist base is important to his political future, which it is.

I blogged on the controversies surrounding Rand Paul's Romney endorsement here and here. I discuss Rand Paul's role in his father's movement in my new book Ron Paul's Revolution: The Man and the Movement He Inspired, and in the excerpt from it in the July issue of Reason.

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23 responses to “Rand Paul: He Might Endorse Romney, But He Doesn't Endorse His Foreign Policy

  1. Gee that’s nice. And I suppose it is progress of a sort that a sitting senator speaks those words. However, I’ve grown quite jaded, and while Rand’s rhetoric may not be as empty as his fellow senators, I fear he is as impotent to stem the tide as was his father.

    1. Rand has done more within government to impede statism than any other elected official in the the last half century, his father included.

      Enough of the nonsense that he is not pure enough.

      I say this as an anarcho-capitalist purist.

      1. I don’t think Warren is saying that Rand isn’t pure enough, simply that, while as a Senator he has more power than one member of the House, he’s limited in what he can accomplish by himself.

      2. Rand has a ways to go to even surpass the late Jessee Helms in the US Senate.

        1. Ah, yes. Whenever I hear the words libertarian, Jesse Helms is the first name that springs to my mind.

          Jesus tapdancing Christ, SIV, I do believe you’ve just outDonderoed Donderooooooooooooooooo!

    2. However, I’ve grown quite jaded, and while Rand’s rhetoric may not be as empty as his fellow senators, I fear he is as impotent to stem the tide as was his father.

      I’m afraid I have to agree with this. I don’t think it’s going to be possible to change the system while playing by the system’s rules.

      1. It would be, if the system didn’t keep changing the rules.

        Rand’s actually done a very nice job mastering Senate procedures and using them to his advantage. I fully expect a number of rules to be changed to keep him from doing that.

  2. The War Powers Act also clearly states that U.S. forces are to engage in hostilities only if the circumstances are “pursuant to (1) a declaration of war, (2) specific statutory authorization or (3) a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.

    (3) is troublesome to me. Announcing to your opponent that you will always wait for him to throw the first punch seems like bad strategy.

    1. There is an “or” there. I’m a little confused by your comment. All it’s saying is that the President can only go ahead without Congress if the US is attacked first and there’s an emergency.

      1. I agree. It just puts preemption in the hands of (a likely partisan) Congress, not the Executive. That makes sense to me.

      2. There is an “or” there

        Yes, there is. The “or” would fall back to (2) if congress had the forethought to authorize U.S. forces for the specific threat. It wouldn’t fall back to (1). Defending the U.S. is presently a real-time game.

        …if the US is attacked first and there’s an emergency…

        and?

        1. …if the US is attacked first and there’s an emergency…

          and?

          “attacked” does not necessarily mean “emergency”. Taking down the twin towers is not the same as some sociopaths firing an RPG at a Coast Guard cutter, for example.

    2. (3) is troublesome to me. Announcing to your opponent that you will always wait for him to throw the first punch seems like bad strategy.

      Well, no. Announcing to the world at large that you don’t consider them your “opponent” unless they throw the first punch, or do something so provocative that even an inertia-prone body like Congress declares war on them, seems like a great way to not get dragged into nightmarish wars of choice that should have been avoided.

    3. Dude, we’re America. A first punch won’t be all that effective.

  3. I’m glad Rand’s keeping his complaints procedural. He probably has philosophical differences when it comes to foreign policy, but the more he makes this about constitutional mistakes, the easier he can sell it to the Tea Party folks.

  4. Rand Paul = Mitt Romney = Barack Obama.

    There is no difference. They are all stinkin’, lyin’ politicians.

    For ages, politicians have manipulated principled people by saying “I have to sacrifice principle now so that we can get in power and THEN I can implement your principles.”

    Bullshit – it’s always lies and bullshit. Believe if you want to be one of the sheep. Remember this moment when Rand said “I had to take one for the team.”

    1. Ummm, how exactly is what Rand said here “sacrificing principle”, or like the two major party presidential candidates?

  5. WillNotSacrificePrinciple,

    Enjoy your Darwin award.

  6. His story is different than the others.

  7. Seeing as they are ALL corrupt as the day is long, does it really matter?

    http://www.Anon-Surfer.tk

  8. Anything to keep the focus off of the one liberty-minded candidate left. God forbid the message be treated as more important than the messiah’s son, we’ve got a group that doesn’t care what we think to grovel to.

    I’ll be glad when this Paul freakshow cult passes on, and we can quit pretending it’s about the message of liberty.

    1. Yeah, the hue and cry of the million or so Paulistas are getting in the way of your messiah from New Mexico winning the usual 0.5% of the national vote.

      (The 0.5% is a guess. The LP is too embarrassed to publish the actual total and breaks it down instead by state.)

      1. I don’t have a messiah. I’ll be voting for Gary Johnson because I care about the message. Had Paul won the GOP, I would vote for him, even though I’m more closely aligned with Johnson, as that would be the best for the message. Instead, he gets patronized and pushed into the lunatic fringe by the GOP, and we’re supposed to keep hoping the GOP spontaneously gives up on warfare and welfare if the right level of boot-licking is practiced.

        I do love the irony of Paul supporters marginalizing anyone with less current popular support than Dr. Paul as unelectable. This is the problem with a cult of celebrity masquerading as a principled movement.

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