When President Barack Obama on Aug. 30 announced his sudden change of policy in seeking congressional authorization before bombing a mideast country, it was an implicit acknowledgment that the foreign policy universe had changed significantly since his administration made a mockery of both Congress and the English language two years ago in Libya. Neither Congress nor the public was willing this time around be treated as an afterthought. As I wrote in a column about Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) last week, "Liberty Movement politicians, and the voters supporting their efforts, have helped create the reality that Obama is grudgingly responding to."
It was unknown then who would win the battle of the Beltway: the non-interventionists, as represented most visibly by Paul, or the interventionists, headed on one flank by Obama (representing the humanitarian/Responsiblity 2 Protect left), and on the other by uber-hawk Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona). But as Brian Doherty observed yesterday, the man left standing on the side of public and congressional opinion after a tumultuous week in Washington was the unlikely opthamologist from Bowling Green.
Buzzfeed's McKay Coppins, in an interview/profile pegged to this month's Syria skirmish, has declared Paul the victor:
Paul, in short, is winning. The Syria debate marked the first time since House Republicans tried to keep America out of the Kosovo conflict in 1999 that a libertarian approach to foreign policy seriously challenged the GOP's old-guard caucus of hawks. And this time, the libertarians came out on top. In this context, his McCain-mocking didn't come off as mischievously trolling for a couple headlines — it seemed a little like punching down.
The article's main takeaway is that Paul feels the foreign policy momentum is growing on his side, at the expense of neoconservatives:
"There's a big transition in the Republican Party, but also in the public. People are right about the public being war-weary. They're right."