by Elias J. Atienza
Senator Rand Paul continues to show why libertarians and libertarian-leaning conservatives can continue to depend on him. The libertarian icon has been on the offensive in the past month against neo-conservatives vying for positions in the Trump administration, especially John Bolton.
With the election of the Donald Trump, Paul has been cautiously supportive, but has drawn a line on neo-conservative foreign policy and the budget. On ABC’s This Week Sunday, Paul condemned Bolton in any position in the State Department.
“I think John Bolton is so far out of it, and has such a naïve understanding of the world, if he were to be the assistant or the undersecretary for Tillerson, I’m an automatic ‘No’ on Bolton,” Paul said. “He should get nowhere close to the State Department, if anybody with a sane worldview is in charge.”
This is good. Bolton is a noted war hawk who wants regime change in Syria and supported the interventions in Libya along with the Iraq War. He also supports regime change in Iran. Any war hawk in the Trump administration should immediately raise alarm bells, especially in the State Department. Bolton might not be Trump’s pick for Secretary of State, but the number 2 spot still puts him in a position of power.
And it is scary to see this man in any position of power. Any unrepentant war hawk should be thrown out of the Trump administration, especially by a man who has called the Iraq War a disaster and promised to reverse the foreign policy of the past of overthrowing regimes.
“John Bolton doesn’t get it. He still believes in regime change. He’s still a big cheerleader for the Iraq War. He’s promoted a nuclear attack by Israel on Iran. He wants to do regime change in Iran,” Paul continued.
If anybody thought Rand Paul would be a partisan hack with a Republican in the White House, they should be assured that Paul penned an op-ed in Time calling for a balancing of the budget while repealing Obamacare. Trump has made it a campaign promise to repeal Obamacare and replace it with something better.
“However, in our fervor to repeal Obamacare, conservatives should not forget or abandon the principles that make us conservative in the first place. Quirky, arcane rules allow Congress to repeal Obamacare with a simple majority but only if Congress passes a budget first,” Paul wrote.
Trump has shown his disdain for balanced budgets by calling for increasing military spending and refusing to consider meaningful welfare reform on programs such as Medicaid and Medicare, along with dealing with the solvency of Social Security, instead hoping that his massive tax cuts will produce enough revenue to make up for the increased spending.
Paul will face much opposition from his own party to fall in line and back the president. But Paul has refused to vote for any budget that is not balanced. He promised to take a “stand” in his op-ed in Time writing:
These budgets don’t have much margin for error. Just three Republican Senators standing up and saying “NO MORE DEBT” can do the trick. It can’t pass without nearly every Republican being for it. So here’s hoping there will be a few more Senators who join me in saying to our leadership, enough. Enough debt. Enough borrowing from our children. I am taking this stand — I will not vote for any budget that doesn’t have a plan to balance, regardless of what is attached to it and I’m calling on other conservatives in the Senate to take the same stand. Let’s repeal Obamacare, and let’s do it with a budget that leads us to balance in the near term.
I am a supporter of Paul’s efforts to balance the budget and return fiscal responsibility to Congress. I am a supporter of his efforts to deny any neocons any power in the new administration.
And that is why I think Rand Paul is needed more than ever. Paul is a welcome voice in the struggle to ensure our government governs within in their means along with changing a disastrous foreign policy of the past twenty years.
Even with a Republican in the White House, libertarians and libertarian-leaning conservatives must continue to fight for our principles and our ideas.
Let’s support Paul in his mission.