Rand Paul Tries to Compare Himself to Eisenhower, Fails Miserably

rand_paulFor someone who likes to project himself as a man of history and Constitutionalism, Senator Rand Paul doesn’t seem to know a whole lot about either.

Then again, that’s probably what happens when your dad spends years running for President, making his last name fairly famous—and you ride his coattails to a political career.

Earlier this year Rand Paul staged a political stunt, a 13 hour filibuster to “get an answer from the Obama administration about drone usage on American soil to kill Americans,” during which all he really did was display for 13 hours how little he knew about the powers the Constitution gives our President on such matters.

Hell, he could have used Google and found the answer.

So it doesn’t surprise me that Rand Paul recently compared himself to President Dwight Eisenhower.

Yes, Rand “anti-war” Paul compared himself to one of our greatest generals during World War II.

During Paul’s remarks, he tried to imply that he sees Eisenhower as a role model in how he shaped his views foreign policy:

“For inspiration and guidance, I often look towards America’s great military leaders. Some of the best observations on war and diplomacy come from the president who was also one of our most decorated generals, Dwight Eisenhower.  Unlike Eisenhower and earlier generations, we often don’t think before we act. I think many in Washington do things in our foreign policy to accomplish short-term goals but that ultimately hurt our national interests.  We have trouble telling friend from foe in Afghanistan. Syria is a thousand-fold more chaotic. Even our Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, warns that it is becoming increasingly difficult to tell friend from foe in Syria. Would Eisenhower, who believed small wars could lead to big wars, buy into such nonsense?  President Eisenhower said: ‘I have one yardstick by which I test every major problem — and that yardstick is: Is it good for America?”  We must be more prudent in our foreign policy.  Eisenhower was right to observe that little wars can often lead to big wars.”

The ignorance is on full display with this one.  With these remarks, Paul seems to have only seen the Eisenhower’s Military Industrial Complex video and thinks that represents his complete foreign policy.  It’s a video Libertarians often worship, though they seem unable to understand the true meaning of it.

But with Paul’s remarks, he clearly doesn’t know Eisenhower’s beliefs as they related to foreign policy.  Let me just run down a few bullet points concerning some of the actions supported by Eisenhower while he was President:

  • He used covert CIA action to overthrow governments (such as Iran and Guatemala) as a means to not publicly take responsibility for controversial actions.
  • He believed that the CIA was an effective tool to use to counter Communism and to assist allied nations.
  • He authorized the CIA to conduct business through bribes, subversion or assassination while keeping himself a length enough to still maintain plausible deniability.
  • Largely funded the French war in Vietnam and helped establish South Vietnam (which of course eventually led to the Vietnam War).
  • Believed investing in foreign aid was cheaper in the long run to give other nations stronger viability to stand with us against our enemies.
  • Often told members of Congress if cuts needed to be made, they should be taken from almost any other category of spending before taking from foreign aid.
  • He saw aid to foreign nations as a means to make them more reliable toward American interests, and felt aiding countries that weren’t directly aligned with us would help bolster approval for their support if we were ever to need it.
  • Often sent aid and supplies to nations trying to overthrow governments which weren’t friendly to the United States.

To just name a few points highlighted in the Washington Post fact check.

Where Paul seems to build much of his comparison to Eisenhower is in how he managed to “fight” the Cold War for eight years without any direct U.S. involvement in war.

Yet Paul fails to understand how we avoided direct involvement in war.  Paul supports policies which are the complete opposite of what President Eisenhower supported—yet believes he could achieve many of the same accomplishments.

With these comments, Paul yet again puts on display his small-minded view of both government and history.  While championing Eisenhower as a man who avoided direct conflict during the Cold War in his 8 years in office, he completely ignores policies Eisenhower supported which are complete contradictions to the political stances taken by himself and other far right-wing Republicans.

Nothing quite like claiming you idolize a President who authorized many covert CIA operations, opposed cuts to foreign aid, believed in nation building and supported aiding in the overthrow of certain foreign governments—while you yourself oppose covert CIA operations, support drastic cuts to foreign aid, don’t believe in nation building and would oppose helping aid the overthrow of certain foreign governments.

Let’s give Senator Paul a round of applause, ladies and gentlemen.  Once again he’s done a brilliant job in showing his ignorance, hypocrisy and inability to understand basic history—even about a man he claims to idolize.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


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