It’s a match made in heaven, if you listen to the papers.
The Washington Post‘s Chris Cillizza and Sean Sullivan wrote a lengthy piece today about Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and the Syria vote, which has become a perfect situation for the junior Senator.
And Paul is taking advantage of the interventionist GOP vs. new-school isolationist Republican foreign policy debate.
“Paul is clearly embracing that opportunity — as he not only bantered back and forth with Secretary of State John Kerry during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the matter Tuesday but then told reporters on a conference call later in the day that he has been ‘talking to other senators, who I think are like-minded. I’m also talking to conservative constitutionalists in the House.’
How the debate in Congress plays out over the next few weeks — particularly among so-called ‘establishment’ Republicans in the House and Senate — will serve as the first major test of not only how much power Paul actually has within the Capitol but also how much the Republican Party has (and/or is) changing.”
Paul has, of course, been very vocal about his opposition to U.S. military action in Syria. He’s cited a number of issues, including the protection of Christians in the country, an uncertainty about who used chemical weapons, an issue with the length of a possible engagement, and the potential of more violence further destabilizing the region as reasons to be against U.S. involvement.
As the piece notes, since the resolution is likely to pass the Democratic Senate, how much influence Paul holds in the Republican-controlled House may be the key.
“Assuming the resolution passes the Senate — and even Paul conceded during Tuesday’s hearing that is the likely outcome — the next test of the Kentucky senator’s influence will come in the House, where Republicans are not only in the majority but there are a large(r) cadre of libertarian-minded GOPers.
If the measure fails in the House, Paul is likely to get a big piece of the credit/blame — particularly since House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) have come out in support of the resolution.”
What’s just as noteworthy, the authors write, is that Paul has already “installed himself at the center of a critical foreign policy debate.” And he’s done it as a first-term junior Senator, to boot. That’s allowed him to position himself as a new, legitimate voice in the Republican Party, they write.
And that’s what can happen when a man and a moment meet at just the right time. The potential for real change.
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