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


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.