As Ed Krayewski and J.D. Tuccille have both pointed out today, Texas Gov. Rick Perry went out of his way on Friday to single out for criticism the "isolationism" of Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky). If the sight of a putative 2016 GOP presidential aspirant explicitly defining himself in opposition to Paul's foreign policy looks familiar, that's because it is.
Here's a partial list of distancing exercises from the man whom Zogby Analytics last week asserted "is emerging as the frontrunner in this race." They are listed in chronological order, though I'm sure John Bolton (among others) probably slung more barbs back when he was first floated as an anti-Paul candidate. If you can think of other candidates, please add them in the comments.
July 2013, Rep. Peter King (R-New York):
"A number of people in the last several months, particularly in New York but also around the country, were concerned about what they feel is a lack of a real defense policy or defense debate among Republican candidates for president, focusing primarily on Rand Paul and Ted Cruz," King said during an appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." […]
"It bothers me when the leading Republicans out there, someone like Rand Paul, seems more concerned about an American being killed in Starbucks by a CIA drone than he is about Islamic terrorism[.]"
July 2013, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie:
"As a former prosecutor who was appointed by President George W. Bush on Sept. 10, 2001, I just want us to be really cautious, because this strain of libertarianism that's going through both parties right now and making big headlines, I think, is a very dangerous thought," Christie said.
November 2013, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida):
"On issue after issue, these voices have used the increasing uncertainty abroad and the economic insecurity here at home to argue for it's best for America to stay on the sidelines," Rubio said. "Now there's no denying that a globally engaged America comes at a steep price, but the history of our still young nation shows and is full of warnings that a lack of American engagement and leadership comes with an even higher price of it's own."
March 2014, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas):
"I'm a big fan of Rand Paul. He and I are good friends. But I don't agree with him on foreign policy," Cruz said. "I think U.S. leadership is critical in the world. And I agree with him that we should be very reluctant to deploy military force abroad. But I think there is a vital role, just as Ronald Reagan did… The United States has a responsibility to defend our values."
March 2014, Rick Santorum:
"I see the Rand Paul wing of the Republican Party for what it is: allied with Barack Obama's foreign policy. I think that's a very serious threat to our own security."
March 2014, John Bolton:
"[A]nyone who thinks Edward Snowden is a hero in unfit to serve."
July 2014, Texas Gov. Rick Perry:
[I]t's disheartening to hear fellow Republicans, such as Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.), suggest that our nation should ignore what's happening in Iraq. The main problem with this argument is that it means ignoring the profound threat that the group now calling itself the Islamic State poses to the United States and the world.
Reason has a long archive on Rand Paul's challenge to entrenched GOP foreign policy; begin here.