Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) told a gathering of conservative activists on Monday that he plans to offer legislation preventing the purchase of F-16 fighter jets by the new Egyptian government.
Paul unexpectedly appeared at the meeting via Skype. Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) was scheduled to appear alone, but after an unavoidable delay to vote on the Hurricane Sandy relief bill (Senators Lee and Paul voted against the bill’s passage), Lee pulled Paul and other Republican senators in for a few comments.
In his impromptu remarks, Paul promised to thwart plans announced by the Obama administration to bypass Congress and send at least 20 Lockheed Martin F-16 fighters, as well as 200 M1A1 advanced combat tanks, to the government of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.
The first four fighter jets are scheduled for delivery in February 2013 according to published reports.
Senator Paul, who has expressed interest in running for president in 2016, appears to be building his pro-Israel credibility in advance of the campaign. Last week, for example, at a closed-door meeting of GOP bigwigs in Charleston, South Carolina, Paul reportedly told a Christian minister that Israel would be among his highest priorities.
There is no disputing that foreign policy is on Paul’s mind lately.
On February 6, Senator Paul will deliver a message to the Heritage Foundation entitled “Restoring the Founders’ Vision of Foreign Policy.”
In an outline of the speech provided to The New American in advance of the meeting, Paul says he plans to describe “his vision of a foreign policy that respects the plain language of our Constitution, the legal powers of Congress and the important role of a strong presidency.” He will also emphasize the importance of “maintaining the strongest national defense among nations while also questioning what constitutes actual ‘defense.’”
At the meeting, Senator Paul will point out the aspects of current U.S. foreign policy that betray the constitutional conservatism he espouses and then recommend the course that he believes our nation needs to follow in order to repair our international reputation and our budget.
Paul plans to discuss the conflict between prolonged foreign wars and the fiscal realities of financing these missions. The senator will “map out a foreign policy of clear and defined missions without prolonged military engagement.”
In this, as in many other key policy positions, Senator Paul’s point of view doesn’t jibe with establishment GOP leadership.
During the recent debate on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2013, Paul cosponsored with Mike Lee an amendment that would have explicitly guaranteed due process for citizens and permanent residents. The amendment was shot down, owing principally to opposition from notorious Republican warmongers John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).
In September 2012, Senator Paul ruffled Republican feathers by calling for an end to foreign aid to Pakistan, Egypt, and Libya, pointing to attacks on consulates, embassies, and posts in those countries, specifically the murder of U.S. Libyan ambassador Christopher Stevens.
The total amount of foreign aid to Pakistan, Libya, and Egypt is roughly $4 billion annually. Senator Paul’s amendment would have stripped that money from those three countries and added $2 billion of the money saved to a veterans job bill. The remaining $2 billion would have gone to deficit reduction.
Again, Republican congressional leadership opposed Paul, painting his position as soft on terrorism.
Despite his run-ins with the GOP establishment, Senator Paul hopes to somehow repair the damaged relationship between the Republican Party leadership and the younger, activist, libertarian bloc of voters who for years have followed his father, former presidential candidate Ron Paul, and looked to him for leadership and inspiration.
There’s a lot of work to be done after the way the GOP leadership treated Ron Paul and his supporters at the Republican National Convention in Tampa last year.
The affronts to the Paul campaign specifically and to the electoral process in general were many.
First, the RNC denied credential to 10 Ron Paul delegates from Maine, robbing Paul of a majority of that state’s delegation. One disgusted Maine delegate described this decision as a “huge slap in the face.”
Next, as the Convention Rules Committee met August 28, the Romney campaign lawyer Ben Ginsberg showed up and pressured members to accept radical changes to the party’s rules governing the binding of delegates and the way rules are to be revised in the future.
According to the revised Rule 15 (to be renumbered as Rule 16 in the new rule book) as proposed by Ginsberg, every state must amend its nominating process to ensure that their delegations are bound to vote in accordance with the winner of the popular vote as cast at state caucuses or primaries.
Ginsberg’s version of Rule 12 empowers the RNC to bend its own rules to suit their needs at any time without submitting the changes to party members gathered at the quadrennial convention. This unprecedented revision places the control of the GOP in the hands of the establishment candidate without suffering the inconvenience of listening to dissenting voices. In the future the nomination of an incumbent Republican president is guaranteed and upon leaving office, he will be able to name his chosen successor through manipulation of the party rules.
Curiously, the driver of a bus carrying the delegate holding the official objections to the proposed rule changes circled the venue refusing to stop, causing that delegate to arrive too late to file the objections. Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) then proceeded to call for a vote on Ginsberg’s rewrite of the Republican rulebook.
Standing at the podium and reading from a teleprompter, Boehner instructed those in favor of the rules to say “aye” and those opposed to say “nay.”
Video of the vote clearly demonstrates that those against the adoption of the Romney-friendly rules numbered at least as many as those in favor. In light of the closeness of the voice vote, Boehner should have called for a roll call vote rather than a voice vote.
More shocking than the speaker’s ignoring of the dissenting votes is the revelations that came through cellphone video posted to the Internet only minutes after this “vote.”
These videos record the script scrolling on Boehner’s teleprompter and reveal that the adoption of the rules was scripted and that the new rules weren’t voted on at all. Regardless of how long before Boehner's appearance the script was written and entered into the teleprompter, the undeniable fact is that the outcome of the vote was decided in advance by whoever typed that text into the teleprompter.
Put simply, the passage of a radical new rulebook rewritten by a lawyer from the Romney campaign was predetermined and the voice vote taken at the convention was a sham, sound and fury signifying nothing.
Senator Rand Paul referenced the mistreatment of Paul delegates in a statement provided to The New American wherein he said he is prepared to reach out to the chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC), Reince Priebus.
"I look forward to working with Reince Priebus to grow the Republican Party. To grow we need to reach out to grassroots conservatives and libertarians, many of whom felt disenfranchised by the delegate process and the rules changes,” Paul said. “To grow we need a concerted effort to reach out to various ethnic and ideological groups. I hope to be a bridge between the establishment GOP and the new younger voters who want to see a more open, libertarian GOP."
Senator Paul will spell out his plans to restore the Founders’ vision of foreign policy on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. at the Heritage Foundation’s Allison Auditorium in Washington, D.C.