Rand Paul's baffling support for Mitt Romney's cowboy foreign policy

The Kentucky senator is supposed to inherit his father's libertarian mantle. Instead, he seems to be endorsing a return to Bush-era recklessness

Daniel Larison

Did Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) betray his father's political movement by endorsing Mitt Romney last week? No... but the content of Rand's endorsement ought to be alarming for the supporters of Rep. Ron Paul's (R-Texas) presidential campaigns, and for anyone interested in a more restrained and prudent foreign policy. While Rand is not as strictly non-interventionist as his father, no one could confuse him for a hawk in the mold of Florida's Marco Rubio. When the Kentucky senator praised Romney for his "mature" foreign policy and asserted that the Republican nominee believed war should be a last resort, he hurt his reputation with his strongest supporters and undermined the critique of Republican foreign policy that has been central to his father's message. No less important, Rand provided Romney with valuable political cover for a foreign policy that appears to be every bit as reckless as that of George W. Bush.

During an interview with Sean Hannity, Sen. Paul described his meeting with Romney by saying, "I came away from it feeling he would be a very responsible commander-in-chief. I don't think he'll be reckless. I don't think he'll be rash. And I think that he realizes and believes as I do that war is a last resort and something we don't rush willy-nilly into. And I came away feeling that he'll have mature attitude and beliefs towards foreign policy."

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Daniel Larison has a Ph.D. in history and is a contributing editor at The American Conservative. He also writes on the blog Eunomia.