by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming continued their verbal war on Sunday over the direction of Republican foreign policy. Don’t expect this ongoing debate between the libertarian senator and the hawkish congresswoman to end anytime soon — because they didn’t start it.
Back when George W. Bush ran for president in 2000, he believed the United States should be “humble” on the world stage, warned against nation-building, and even said, “I’m not so sure it’s the role of the United States to go around saying ‘this is the way it’s gotta be.’”
Yes, this is the same George W. Bush who later launched the Iraq War.
But in 2000, after almost eight years of President Bill Clinton and his adventures in Somalia and Yugoslavia, many Republicans had soured on U.S. intervention abroad. …
… [Bush speechwriter David] Frum’s message was clear: Being a conservative meant being pro-war, period. If you disagreed, hawks like Frum wanted you out of the movement. And back then, unfortunately, few Republicans disagreed with their assessment.
This rigid orthodoxy wasn’t challenged in any significant way within the party until former Rep. Ron Paul’s Republican primary presidential campaign caught fire in 2008. Like Buchanan before him, the libertarian-leaning Paul was a strident anti-war candidate who took on Republican hawks in no uncertain terms.