Rand Paul is becoming the most intriguing figure in U.S. politics behind Donald Trump. As the war waged by the media and Deep State against Trump escalates, Paul is deftly coming to the President’s aid.
And that makes him someone worth watching.
On two key issues this week Paul took the Deep State head on to diffuse the outcry over Trump’s performance at Helsinki. First, in an article published the day of the summit he announced he would be travelling to Russia as a diplomatic envoy to build on Trump’s meeting with Putin.
But, more importantly Paul sided with the President on another matter, NATO and, by extension, our entangling military alliances. On these issues he truly rises to take on the mantle of his father’s foreign policy, a foreign policy which nearly won him the Republican nomination in 2012.
Dialogue is especially important when hundreds of millions of lives are at stake, as is the case in relations between the United States and nuclear-armed Russia. So I applaud Trump for both chiding our NATO allies and greeting its expansion with skepticism, and I applaud him for sitting down with Putin. We should be doing more of such self-examination and dialogue.
Socrates famously said, “An unexamined life is one not worth living.” But, the lack of examination of the horrific consequences of U.S. foreign policy as proscribed by the neoconservatives in the GOP and DNC has led to a life on this planet that far more dangerous than it needs to be.
Life is always worth fighting for, and Paul’s stance here is both principled and correct. As is Trump’s.
Since Trump took office, Paul has been the President’s critic and ally. As a libertarian at his core, Paul’s principles lead him to put his own ego aside when insulted by Trump, stand his ground on the issue nut keep his options open to future opportunities for common ground.
In effect, Paul’s approach to Trump is to praise Trump when he’s on the right of an issue and criticize him when he isn’t.
And he always has a concrete policy option to offer, which is very important in any negotiation.
So, now, with Trump attempting to take control of foreign policy after ceding it to his staff and their neoconservative bias for most of 2017, Paul is supporting Trump directly in this turn away from them.
His questioning ex-CIA Director John Brennan’s use of his security clearance for personal gain led directly to a meeting with Trump and an announcement that not only is Brennan in trouble of it being revoked, but also that of James Clapper, James Comey, Susan Rice, Michael Hayden and Andrew McCabe.
These form the core of the resistance and likely the leaks to the media that have been undermining Trump’s ability to function as the U.S.’s executive.
Unfortunately, for Paul, Trump demands loyalty as well as trust. So, I fear Paul’s balanced approach will keep him at arm’s length with Trump. But, as I said, rarely does Paul criticize the President without presenting him an alternate plan of action.
Criticism is worthless otherwise. In this way Paul is always seen as a willing partner in solving problems even if it is politically inconvenient for Trump at that moment.
But, on foreign policy Trump has precious few allies inside the Beltway. Trump needs allies and Paul knows this is his opportunity to build that trust with Trump and his base, who are, by and large, not as libertarian as he is.
So, Paul’s support on this front will go far with Trump while their confrontation on Obamacare reform, for example, will be properly depreciated.
Paul’s campaign against intelligence agents keeping their security clearance is a direct attack on the Deep State itself and is an important vector to starve the media of any relevancy in the public forum. As he said on Fox News recently.
“I don't think that ex-CIA agents of any stripe who are now talking heads should continue to get classified information. I think it's wrong.”
Paul clearly has John Brennan in his sights.
But, this move to support Trump here is both strategic and tactical. Strategically, Paul is learning the rules of what will work for him in the post-Trump era. He is setting himself up for a more important position within the New GOP I see forming after the mid-term elections.
The Democrats are imploding. People like James Comey are now openly calling for the party to support moderate candidates this fall and not the new golden child, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
The poll numbers are showing that #TreasonSummit was a failure. Trump’s approval rating keeps climbing. Rasmussen put out a poll recently which I believe is accurate saying that 65% of self-identified Democrats believe Trump is a traitor while as many as a third of Republicans do as well.
Those numbers shouldn’t frighten you. This is a wedge issue. It represents a fork in the road for the U.S. voter. Treason is a serious charge, it comes, as Paul reminds us with a death sentence.
With more than 40% of the U.S. electorate identifying as Independent (and that number is rising) those in the ‘treason’ camp represent, at most, 30% of voters – 20% from the Democrats, at most 10% from Republicans.
That’s about right for the true cross-over of neoconservatives and liberal interventionists (or do I repeat myself?). The neocons have already said they’re going back to the Democrats from which they came, since they are just moldy, warmed-over Trotskyites anyway.
So, Paul knows this is about as bad as it gets for Trump. Once you go nuclear, there’s no going back without a massive loss of face. Going after the “treason” point-man Brennan is tactically the right move.
And the mid-term elections are shaping up to be the moment where Trump welcomes the disaffected centrist voter who sees things improving and a President working for peace and rejects the insanity coming from the Left.
Treason will be a very hard sell from here.
People like Lindsay Graham cannot jump party lest they lose their important committee positions. Old guard Democrats like Dianne Feinstein could be out of a job anyway. There is real change on the horizon in Congress if Trump plays his cards right.
Strategically, it allows Paul to rise in the ranks of the most important committees. Because Trump will, in effect, control a New GOP that represents to voters the American they hold in their heads, not the one we actually live in.
There he can begin wielding real power versus just being a gadfly. By the time Trump is done in 2024 he could easily be seen as the standard-bearer to rebuild the American political system that Trump took a hammer to.
My feeling is that Trump is Loki. His job is to create chaos, upset the balance of things because they are in desperate need of realignment. Rand Paul is a much more balanced presence, a man of strong convictions but milder temperament that will be needed after we pass through the eye of this political storm.
He is a man to watch very carefully from here.