Over the past couple weeks, Texas Governor Rick Perry and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, two of the Republican front runners for the presidential race in 2016, have been bickering over foreign policy, isolationism, fashion choices, and who really knows what the late Ronald Reagan would do about the endlessly-complicated situation in Iraq.
Last month, Rand Paul wrote an Op-Ed piece for the Wall Street Journal about what role America should play in Iraq, invoking Reagan and his Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, saying, “The United States should not commit forces to combat unless the vital national interests of the US or its allies are involved and only ‘with the clear intention of winning.’”
Paul compared himself to Reagan in reference to the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. “Like Reagan, I thought we should never be eager to go to war,” Paul said. “And now, 11 years later, we are still dealing with the consequences.”
“We need a new approach,” continued Paul, “that emulates Reagan’s policies, puts America first, seeks peace, faces war reluctantly, and when necessary, acts fully and decisively.”
Apparently Gov. Perry felt that he had a greater understanding of what the Gipper would do, and fired back in an Op-Ed of his own.
Perry wrote in the Washington Post that “…its disheartening to hear [Sen. Paul] suggest that our nation should ignore what’s happening in Iraq,” before calling Paul an “isolationist” and summoning the spirit of Reagan for wisdom.
“Reagan believed that our security and economic prosperity require persistent engagement and leadership abroad,” said Perry. “He … refused to heed ‘the false prophets of living alone.’”
Perry also said that Reagan, if he were dealing with the situation in Iraq that America faces today, wouldn’t “believe in a wait-and-see foreign policy for the United States,” just like Perry himself.
Round three saw Paul write yet another piece, this time for Politico, subtly titled “Rick Perry is Dead Wrong.”
In it, Paul opens with a jab at Perry’s choice of eye wear, saying “apparently his new glasses haven’t altered his perception of the world, or allowed him to see it any more clearly.”
He then goes on to defend his Reaganism against Perry’s. Paul said:
“This is where many in my own party, similar to Perry,” Paul said, “get it so wrong regarding Ronald Reagan’s doctrine of ‘peace through strength.’ Strength does not always mean war. Reagan ended the Cold War without going to war with Russia. He achieved a relative peace with the Soviet Union—the greatest existential threat to the United States in our history—through strong diplomacy and moral leadership.”
Paul even admits, “some of Perry’s solutions for the current chaos in Iraq aren’t much different from what I’ve proposed.”
So if the two politician’s ideas on what to do in Iraq aren’t really all that different, and they can at least bond over their fondness for the Great Communicator, why all the bickering?
Their spat is simply a microcosm of what is currently going on within the GOP today. The Tea Party fringe has caused such a rift within the Republican party that the house is going to fall down around their feet with no one to blame but themselves.
Watch Pap discuss this on The Ed Show below.