Rand Paul tells Cincinnati Republicans, ‘We’d attract more young people if we didn’t seem so eager to go to war’
Republican Kentucky Senator Rand Paul continued to distinguish himself from the ‘hawkishness” of his fellow Senate republicans as he spoke to hundreds of Cincinnati-area Republicans Saturday, according to a Cincinnati.com report Jan. 26.
While speaking at the Northeast Hamilton County Republican Club’s annual pancake breakfast Saturday, Paul described how the party needs to take a different look at some issues in order to grow in appeal–the party’s war stance was a primary factor.
Noting that in addition to some social issues, the idea of war stood head and shoulders above others. Quoting from the report, Paul said, “Republicans, he said, might attract voters put off by the party’s hawkish image “if we had a less bellicose approach, if we were for a strong defense but a little bit less aggressive defense around the world.”
“If we didn’t have to be everywhere all the time, if maybe we tried to reserve it for when our national interests were impacted or a vital interest of ours was – and if Republicans didn’t seem so eager to go to war – I think we’d attract more young people.”
This of course, is not the first time Senator Paul has expressed a more non-interventionist, anti-war stance than most of his Republican colleagues.
In a June 2012 National Review Online Op-Ed, Paul clearly talked of his disagreements of both President Obama’s and Candidate Romney’s foreign policy views.
In that Op-Ed, Paul disputes Romney’s statement of going to war with Iran unilaterally, without Congressional approval:
I can assure you if I’m president, the Iranians will have no question but that I will be willing to take military action if necessary to prevent them from becoming a nuclear threat to the world. I don’t believe at this stage, therefore, if I’m president that we need to have a war powers approval or special authorization for military force. The president has that capacity now.
This is a misreading of the role of the president and Congress in declaring war.
The Constitution clearly states that it is Congress that has the power to declare war, not the president. The War Powers Act also clearly states that U.S. forces are to engage in hostilities only if the circumstances are “pursuant to (1) a declaration of war, (2) specific statutory authorization or (3) a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.”
Absent these criteria, the president has no authority to declare war.
Even if the president believes he has such authority, the War Powers Act goes on to require the president to seek congressional approval within 60 days of conflict.
No president is above the law or above the Constitution.
He has also said he would have voted for the authorization to use force in Afghanistan but would have voted against the authorization for the use of force in Iraq, during a speech in 2010.
More recently, he demonstrated a clear contrast in foreign policy vision with Florida “Tea Party” Senator and fellow Senate Foreign Relations Committee member, Marco Rubio during the John Kerry hearings last week.
On the topic of President Obama bringing the U.S. into the Libya conflict, Rubio’s and Paul’s thoughts are night and day:
Rubio, who is clearly more aggressive, said, “I was not suggesting that the U.S. should have invaded or put soldiers on the ground,” Rubio said. “We did certain things in the first 48 to 72 hours of that conflict – had we extended that for a couple weeks that conflict would have ended a lot sooner. In hindsight, a shortened conflict there would have certainly led to a government that would have been stronger and less instability than exists now.”
While Paul looked at whether Obama had any constitutional authority to do what he did, “Obama took us to war in Libya without congressional authority, unilaterally,” he said. “I would argue though that the Constitution really has no exceptions for when you are having a tough time or people disagree with you, that you just go ahead and do it.”