Rand Paul: "Mistake" to Jab at Obama's Love of America as Guiliani Did

Rand Paul refuses to leap into GOP scrum of attacking Obama for assumptions about his motives


One of the least interesting news manias of the week has been former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani discussing his opinion that President Obama doesn't really love America (or you, or me, or him). 

Obama has been the very living embodiment of American government power for the past 7 years, and not too reluctant to use it against enemies, and just random citizens, both foreign and domestic—whether it comes to foreign policy, spending, taxing, regulating, and arresting. Thus, I doubt any alleged lack of love for the U.S. of A matters in any way that Giuliani or the people delighted to hear him say it might think.

If this supposed lack of love for America merely means an occasional intelligent ability to question the probity and morality of certain of the U.S. government's actions in the past or present, it could be about the best thing about our president.

That being said, and what Giuliani said being said, it's a pretty silly thing to dominate the commentary cycle as it has. People on either side jumped on this sentence spoken by a former mayor like the prize horse that was going to take them across some political finish line, gleeful that supposedly vitally important hidden truths widely believed by America's talk-radio listening right populists were coming from someone of the apparent serious heft of Giuliani.

Or, alternately, gleeful as the supposed dark racism and other-ism and sheer mindless Obamahate that motivates the right is exposed.

Caring that much either way seems a waste of time, but Americans do like a chance to revisit the vitally important topic of how just awful their political opponents are, those America-hating or patriotism-questioning bastards surrounding us.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) wants to win over not-traditionally-Republican votes in his hoped-for run for president in the general election in 2016. It's interesting to watch him gingerly stake out territory distinct from what the average intelligent independent voter leery of the GOP might think of as the grosser aspects of Republicanism, the sort of questions of tone, spirit, and tactic that can turn people off more than some specifics of policy.

So Paul told a Kentucky news station, as Mediaite reports, that:

"I think it's a mistake to question people's motives. It's one thing to disagree on policy."

Paul said he's not interested in questioning whether Obama's a "good American or a bad American," because while he may blame the president's foreign policy for making the U.S. less safe, he's not going to question whether Obama's "well-intentioned."

Like Guiliani's Obama, Rand Paul might not love you and he might not love me. And whether this sort of reasonableness will do Paul any good with voters generally skeptical about the GOP who might find it hard to see past, for example, his stands on issues such as abortion, taxing the rich, and cutting spending remains to be seen. But right now it's nice to see Paul not taking the silly road when taking that silly road might make things easier with his own Party's core voters.

Back in 2009 I questioned Obama's self-appointed role as "President of Everything," an article that was anthologized in Best American Political Writing 2009.