In a post lamenting Rand Paul’s primary victory in Kentucky, David Frum writes that it is “obviously a depressing event for those who support strong national defense and rational conservative politics.” Funny, I support those things, and I am downright delighted that Dr. Paul won his race.
Mr. Frum goes on to ask, “How is it that the GOP has lost its antibodies against a candidate like Rand Paul?”
I’d say that the GOP has lost its ability to discredit candidates with libertarian foreign policy sympathies by backing an enormously expensive, strategically ill-conceived war in Iraq. They’ve compounded that error by refusing to publicly acknowledge that many of their judgments about the war have proved utterly wrong.
Were I a Kentucky voter, I’d have cast my ballot for Rand Paul, despite the fact that I disagree with some of his views about the financial system, the gold standard, and various other matters. This reflects my estimation that it is vanishingly unlikely Dr. Paul will cast a decisive vote to abolish the federal reserve, and that a far greater danger is a reflexively hawkish GOP Senator foolishly backing a future military campaign as ill-conceived as Iraq.
I always appreciate Mr. Frum’s arguments, especially when he grounds them in analysis that draws on his long experience observing American politics. So I am persuadable that he is right about Dr. Paul, and I am wrong. But an effective case will require that he grapple with Iraq, its effect on American politics, and my contention that even if we sent five Rand Paul’s to the Senate, their most ill-advised policy beliefs wouldn’t stand any chance of being implemented.