We live in a quick world, one where even the slightest misstep is immediately captured across the internet and one’s permanent record updated. Being a politician, even one with the last name “Paul,” one would think that Rand Paul would understand this. Despite his last name, he has shown flashes of understanding the electorate and how to communicate with them. He’s reached across ideological lines and won plaudits for actions such as his filibuster. He isn’t shy about race and the militarization of police.
So of course, being a Paul, he decided to skip the ill-timed remark and update his own permanent record.
Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Paul offered a thoughtful piece about Syria, ISIS, and Assad. He, in part, blamed foreign intervention for creating the vacuum in which ISIS arose. He did so in a way that allowed the WSJ to run with this headline: How U.S. Interventionist Abetted the Rise of ISIS.
He didn’t write that headline. I doubt he suggested that headline. The only politicians named in the piece were Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, so it wasn’t a “Blame Bush” moment. It was cogent argument that the current choice in Syria is between a hornet and a wasp. He echoed sentiments expressed here by Pocket Full of Liberty’s Skyler Mann with:
To interventionists like former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, we would caution that arming the Islamic rebels in Syria created a haven for the Islamic State. We are lucky Mrs. Clinton didn’t get her way and the Obama administration did not bring about regime change in Syria. That new regime might well be ISIS.
This is not to say the U.S. should ally with Assad. But we should recognize how regime change in Syria could have helped and emboldened the Islamic State, and recognize that those now calling for war against ISIS are still calling for arms to factions allied with ISIS in the Syrian civil war. We should realize that the interventionists are calling for Islamic rebels to win in Syria and for the same Islamic rebels to lose in Iraq. While no one in the West supports Assad, replacing him with ISIS would be a disaster.
But, man, that headline only bolsters his critics. One begins to wonder if his his speechwriter actually is “an honest-to-God sea pirate.” Why would he even deign to get into this? Oh, right because he’s a Paul.
I like Rand. I personally prefer to see him stay in the Senate where he can be an effective gadfly rather than see him run for president. Also because a Paul presidential run could split the field and create an opening for someone who truly is crazy. Like Mike Huckabee. *shudder* But if Rand is to remain effective, in the Senate or driving the national conversation via a presidential bid, he needs to avoid handing ammunition to his critics.
So, Rand, please stop. People read the headline, make assumptions because of your last name, the entire message gets reduced to tweets, and nobody sees the closing paragraph. Stop listening to the pirate and get yourself a Lionel Logue.
Photo from WikiCommons user AlbertHerring