BY JENNIFER RUBIN
Originally published by www.washingtonpost.com/blogs
NBC News has many more serious problems than transitioning to a new host for “Meet the Press.” It has quite simply ceased to be a serious news organization. Consider its segment on Sunday covering Sen. Rand Paul’s publicity trip to Guatemala. The Kentucky Republican had in tow a phalanx of media people, his longtime political crony Doug Stafford and a camera crew of his own for what was ostensibly a humanitarian trip. NBC included this clip of him pontificating on foreign policy:
“I think the American public is coming more and more to where I am, and that those — people, like Hillary Clinton, who, she fought her own war, Hillary’s War, you know, people are gonna find that, and I think that’s what scares the Democrats the most, is that in a general election, were I to run, there’s gonna be a lot of independents and even some Democrats who say, ‘You know what, we are tired of war. We’re worried that Hillary Clinton will get us involved in another Middle Eastern war, because she’s so gung-ho.’ If you wanna see a transformational election in our country, let the Democrats put forward a war hawk like Hillary Clinton, and you’ll see a transformation like you’ve never seen.”
The comment was ludicrous on many counts, so where were the follow-up questions? For example, why was Paul not pressed on his notion of what “Hillary’s War” is all about? Why was no question asked as to why he still shows no regard for the national security threat posed by the Islamic State? Does he have thoughts about what the slaughter of journalist James Foley tells us about the Islamic State’s outlook and ambitions? The lack of journalistic curiosity is stunning.
As for Paul, the transformation that actually will occur is a wholesale defection of Republicans to Clinton if the GOP is so foolish as to nominate someone who wants to eliminate all foreign aid, doesn’t comprehend the gross miscalculation in allowing the Islamic State to take root in and then spread from Syria and suddenly loses his concern for persecuted Christians when the Islamic State commences genocide and the United States is called upon to take action. Running on a “Hey, President Obama was right to be entirely passive” message will certainly lose the vast, vast majority of Republicans and most responsible Democrats and independents.
Paul, like his father, operates entirely in his own world of foreign policy. In that regard, he is closest to Obama, who lacks the will and strategy to take on the Islamic State. Paul, like the president, clings to the illusion that if we do not respond to terrorists, we are not “at war”; in fact, the terrorists plainly are at war with us, and the only question is whether we defend ourselves or pretend no threat exists so as to perpetuate the fantasy that our own government is the real threat to us.
Both Obama and Paul believe that U.S. action is the most dangerous option while inaction is the safe course. Every international event in the past 5 1/2 years tells us otherwise. (Does Paul think the Obama foreign policy has been a success?) Iraq is crumbling, a terrorist state is taking hold, Iran is close to a nuclear capability and Russia is reversing the West’s Cold War victory. Only Obama and Paul seem to think that no course correction is needed or that even less U.S. involvement would be advisable.
We can speculate why the left-wing media are so entranced by Paul. He might be the one Republican who could ensure a Clinton landslide; and he might be the only Republican largely in sync with the failed president. In any event, his opponents and Republicans, unlike NBC, will not afford him the luxury of allowing his radical ideology and deliberate ignorance of reality (it is deliberate, right?) to go unchallenged. Frankly, you wonder if someone in the GOP won’t challenge him for his Senate seat; after all, dangerous times require serious leaders in both elected branches.
Jennifer Rubin writes the Right Turn blog for The Washington Post website, offering reported opinion from a conservative perspective