A couple of years ago, I complained to my old friend, the late Burt Blumert, that some libertarian or other was getting a bit too hot under the collar and needed to cool down a bit: I forget the exact personalities or circumstances involved, but basically I was arguing that we had to police ourselves so as not to give our enemies ammunition. Relax, he told me, it doesn’t matter what you say or do: they’re going to smear you with the same old epithets anyway!
I was skeptical, but, as in so many other instances in which Burt gave me advice, I’ve since discovered he was absolutely correct. Example number one: the attack on Rand Paul launched by Sen. John McCain at a recent gathering of the neocons’ “Foreign Policy Initiative.” “I worry a lot,” McCain said,
“Because throughout the history of the Republican Party in modern times, there’s been, obviously, as we know, two wings: The isolationist wing, manifested before World War II and at other times; and the internationalist side. And so I think there are going to be some tensions within our party.”
McCain then singled newly-elected libertarian Republican Senator-elect Rand Paul as the focus of his worry. While McCain said he “respects” Paul, he criticized him for openly calling for cuts in the defense budget:
“Already he has talked about withdrawals from, or cuts in defense, et cetera. And a number of others are… So I worry a lot about the rise of protectionism and isolationism in the Republican Party.”
Coming from McCain, the charge of “isolationism” bears less weight than it otherwise might: after all, the Arizona Senator, known for his fiery temper, has called for the deployment of “boots on the ground” in every conflict and potential conflict since the end of the cold war. He wanted to send US troops into the former Yugoslavia, back when Bill Clinton was bombing Belgrade, was keen to send US troops into Darfur, and openly called for the deployment of US troops to the former Soviet republic of Georgiawhen that country rashly invaded two breakaway provinces, South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Naturally, “Hair Trigger” McCain was one of the first to call for the invasion and occupation of Iraq, and as a measure of McCainiac madness all you have to do is Google “McCain ‘boots on the ground’” – and the result is over 277,000 hits.
Now Rand Paul has hardly been a…
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