U.S. foreign policy “significantly contributed” to 9/11 attacks
“The flawed foreign policy of interventionism that we have followed for decades significantly contributed to the attacks. Warnings had been sounded by the more astute that our meddling in the affairs of others would come to no good.”
In a 2002 speech on the floor of the House and in other venues, Paul has asserted that the United States helped cause the 9/11 attacks with its heavy-handed foreign policies. Like most of his controversial positions, there is a consistency to his remarks that sets him apart from other pols and a willingness to tackle the most sensitive of issues.
In fact, he was saying the same thing before the 9/11 attacks. In 1999, while debating a defense bill on the House floor, he said, “Our foolish policy in Iraq invites terrorist attacks against U.S. territory and incites the Islamic fundamentalists against us.”
The problem is that his remarks are often viewed in a blaming-America context, and his stances on foreign policy, national security and the projection of American power put him at odds with many conservatives. Equally important, they are especially hard to defend in a political arena that doesn’t lend itself to nuance.
Returning white supremacist donation is “pandering”
“I think it is pandering. I think it is playing the political correctness.”
Paul is already battling to distance himself from racist commentary that appeared in newsletters published under his name. So his casual dismissal of a 2007 question regarding whether he would return a $500 donation from a Florida white supremacist will only raise more questions about the kinds of people who are affiliated with him.
In this particular instance from the 2008 campaign, Paul called it “pandering” and “political correctness” to send money back to people with whom you disagree. Returning contributions from unsavory characters is a commonplace practice among politicians; by refusing, Paul may have created an even bigger problem for himself down the line.
The Civil Rights Act “violated the Constitution”
“The Civil Rights Act of 1964 not only violated the Constitution and reduced individual liberty, it also failed to achieve its stated goals of promoting racial harmony and a color-blind society.”
Paul’s voting record is miles long after 11 terms in Congress. While it reflects a principled consistency and a contrarian mindset, it’s filled with political land mines. There’s something for almost everyone to object to, including a vote against a 2004 nonbinding resolution commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act. Paul was the only member of Congress to vote against the legislation and even gave a floor speech deriding it.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. He voted against the PATRIOT Act, against awarding Congressional Gold Medals to Rosa Parks and Pope John Paul II, and was the only member to vote “present” on the resolution to support military action in Iraq. He even voted against hurricane relief after Hurricane Rita wrecked his own district in 2005.
In an anti-establishment environment, his lonely stands are certain to win admirers. The problem is that they are also certain to put a ceiling on his appeal.
© 2011, agentleman.