Rand Paul's noninterventionist foreign policy views aren't currying him any favor with conservative pundits, who have recently attacked the Kentucky senator and possible 2016 presidential candidate as naive and immature.
Earlier this month, Mother Jones surfaced a 2009 video of the Republican speaking to a student group at Western Kentucky University prior to announcing his Senate candidacy. In his remarks, Paul alleged that former Vice President Dick Cheney had his own financial gain in mind when he pushed for the Iraq War after 9/11.
"Dick Cheney then goes to work for Halliburton. Makes hundreds of millions of dollars -- their CEO. Next thing you know, he's back in government, it's a good idea to go into Iraq," Paul said.
The charge isn't sitting well with some conservatives.
In a Monday op-ed, Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens offers the tongue-in-cheek suggestion that Paul is the perfect candidate for the GOP in 2016 -- "because maybe what the GOP needs is another humbling landslide defeat."
Stephens argues that Paul's foreign policy views and his former aide's pro-Confederate ties are more problematic than potential 2016 rival Jeb Bush's stance on immigration and education or Chris Christie's role in the Bridgegate scandal.
"When moderation on a subject like immigration is ideologically disqualifying, but bark-at-the-moon lunacy about Halliburton is not, then the party has worse problems than merely its choice of nominee," he writes.
The WSJ writer also takes a stab at Paul's relatively short political career, noting that President Barack Obama had more years of public service under his belt when he ran for president in 2008 than Paul would have in 2016.
"That's worked out well," Stephens writes.
National Review editor Rich Lowry gave a similar take on Tuesday, chiding Paul's "dewy-eyed foolishness" and "blame-America-first libertarianism."
"[Paul's] instincts sometimes seem more appropriate to a dorm-room bull session than the Situation Room," Lowry writes. "The default position of the GOP is still toward strength, and the party will instinctively recoil from the distorted view of America implicit in some of Paul’s more impolitic statements."
Lowry points to Paul's positions on recent conflicts in Syria and Ukraine as proof the libertarian-leaning senator is out of step with his party.
"Rand Paul is running in a party that, while chastened on foreign policy, still has a hawkish reflex — and not because it is beholden to Halliburton," he writes.
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