Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Foreign Policy Rift Hurts the Pauls

Tea Partiers are not fungible. And some of them are beginning to speak up and criticize career politician Ron Paul for policies that cannot keep America safe from terrorists. This criticism has direct implications for the Kentucky Senate race, where Ron's son Dr. Rand Paul has lured his father's national contributor base by aping his father's policies.

Ron Paul -- who mainstream media paint as the Grand-daddy of the Tea Parties --now has his own opposition in Texas, three primary challenges from, you guessed it, other Tea Partiers.

Take this criticism of Paul from the Dana Show via Hot Air:

I love Ron Paul immensely with one exception: I vehemently disagree with his foreign policy. A nation alone in a world of enemies is a nation that does not last long. It’s part of a strategy in protecting American citizens. Big difference from “nation building,” a broad, sweeping term tossed at anyone who dares look to protect America from outside her borders – that and “neoconservatism” which just, ugh, gag me.

I disagree with Allahpundit:

The only sin Paul’s clearly guilty of in tea-party eyes isearmarking; his foreign policy is obviously a major issue, but unless I missed a memo, there’s no concrete foreign policy (i.e. isolationist vs. interventionist) that’s been settled on by a majority of tea partiers.

I don’t speak for all tea partiers, but having been involved in politics most of my life, this movement for a year, and having met thousands of tea partiers, I’ve yet to met one who thinks that eradicating terrorism, beyond our borders if need be, isn’t a good idea. There isn’t a concrete policy on anything but limited government power, low taxes, and devotion to the American government’s first (and only, really) priority which is protecting its people.

In Kentucky, Rand Paul acts as if the Tea Partiers have annointed him with Holy Oil. He begins every stump speech with the line that that He (and by implication, only He) has "message from the Tea Parties: we've come to take our government back."

Rand Paul, however, has his own opposition from Tea Partier and veteran Bill Johnson. To be sure, Bill Johnson's father didn't run for president last term; he has no national email list for dropping "money bombs" and not much name identification. In short, Bill Johnson is running as an outsider against the son of career politician Ron Paul.

The chastening lesson for both Pauls is that a movement as decentralized as the Tea Parties is by nature heterogeneous. And while many within in it may agree that Gitmo should be closed and the like, not all do. There are similar differences on abortion.

The Tea Partiers are united by fiscal conservatism, an abhorrence of deficits and a respect for the constitution -- principles upon which most Republicans agree. On foreign policy and abortion, there is a range of disagreement and a willingness to vet every candidate, regardless of Who's Your Daddy.

No comments: