The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Ron Paul Supporters Slam Rand After Republicans Block Hagel Nomination

Posted on | February 15, 2013 | 55 Comments

Allahpundit points out that Chuck Hagel was one vote away from passing a cloture vote to be confirmed as Secretary of Defense:

But wait — what about Rand Paul? If ever there was a SecDef nominee whom the Ron Paul paleocon fan base could sort of dig, it’s a guy known for lamenting the “Israel lobby” and opposing Iran sanctions. . . .
Philip Klein, tongue in cheek, calls him today’s neocon hero.

More roundup of Paul-on-Paul conflict at The Daily Caller. After Thursday’s vote, I was riffing on the perception:

Let’s be clear: Disagreements on U.S. foreign policy certainly are acceptable. We ought to be able to debate foreign policy openly and honestly. It is not “hate” to criticize U.S. policy in the Middle East. On the other hand, the conspiratorial insinuation — the suggestion that the U.S.-Israel alliance is solely or primarily a result of clandestine machinations by “neocons” in alliance with the “Israel lobby” — is about two clicks away on the dial from Alex Jones/M.J. Rosenberg kookery. Turn that dial another click or two, and . . .

Well, there is legitimate criticism of policy and then there is something else. Figuring out where to draw the line can be difficult. One of the genuine intellectual giants of the conservative movement, Russell Kirk, remarked in a 1988 Heritage Foundation speech:

Sometimes, true, [neoconservatives] have been rash in their schemes of action, pursuing a fanciful democratic globaIism rather that the national interest of the United States; on such occasions I have tended to side with those moderate Libertarians who set their faces against foreign entanglements. And not seldom it has seemed as if some eminent Neoconservatives mistook Tel Aviv for the capital of the United States — a position they will have difficulty in maintaining, as matters drift in the Levant.

Kirk’s “Tel Aviv” remark has often been cited — it was controversial at the time, and has since become rather notorious — whereas his larger critique of “fanciful democratic globalism” is generally ignored. And while the title of Kirk’s lecture was “The Neoconservatives: An Endangered Species” (the text at the Heritage site appears to be an uncorrected scan), subsequent events showed that Necons enjoyed a hegemonic influence in GOP circles, so as to be able effectively to blackball certain of their persistent critics. Indeed, in 2007, one foreign policy expert at Heritage lost his job for too strenuously criticizing the Bush administration’s policy in Iraq.

It might be possible for conservatism as a movement to maintain a balance between the Paleos and Neos, were it not for the savage “war to the knife, knife to the hilt” blood-feud mentality that has gripped some of the combatants ever since Mel Bradford was rejected as chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities back in 1981.

The persistence of such ugly intranecine hostilities, I would suggest, bodes ill for schemes of “fanciful democratic globalism.” If we can’t even broker a peace among Republican intellectuals, how shall we have peace between Israelis and Palestinians?

Well, all of this is only indirectly relevant to the fight over the Hagel nomination. The regular inside-baseball politics of the thing is rather tedious, but Jeff Goldstein manages to find something interesting in the media’s coverage of it all.




  • G Joubert

    My reaction to Alex Jones remains what it was about 8 years ago when I first heard of him: he REALLY needs to be medicated. I’ve had the same reaction to Ron Paul at times.

  • Old Rebel

    But Neocons and Paleoconservatives are different species. Neocons are Trotskyites who use conservative language to justify leftist statism.

    Here’s an example: In the latest NRO, Charles Krauthammer, that anti-gun, pro-amnesty, pro-global democratic revolution, big-government “conservative,” defends Obama’s drone program. Never mind that Obama’s actions are an assault on the “entire Anglo-American constitutional order.”

    A Paleoconservative would NEVER submit to such a thing. NEVER.

  • Finrod Felagund

    This is why Rand Paul is good and Ron Paul sucks.

  • Guest

    No, a paleoconservative would just blame the Jews and walk away.

  • Paul Zummo

    If Rand could smooth out some of the rougher edges, he could be that bridge between the foreign policy extremes of the neoconservatives and paleoconservatives. At the very least his very presence could force people to accept that there is a middle ground between reflexive interventionism and reflexive isolationism.

  • Old Rebel

    You’re right. All dissent is really hate speech.

  • Adjoran

    Krauthammer. Joo.

    ’nuff said.

  • richard mcenroe

    Paulies are why conservatives can’t have nice things.

  • Adjoran

    Well, WFB is rather lax in blaming the poor reporting on Dylan Byers, who is only trying to make his way in the world.

    The fault lies instead with Politico itself and its masquerade as a “news” operation, when in fact it is ONLY a propaganda outlet for the Left. Every single one of the principals involved was a charter member of Ezra Klein’s “journolist,” the secret email list formed to manipulate news reporting behind the scenes rather than allow unadulterated facts to reach the public.

    Of course, after discovery, the list was “disbanded” – but of course now exists in another, more secure form, less subject to disclosure. Goebbels would be so proud of Ezra – and Politico.

  • JeffS

    Ronulans are a prime reason why I never supported Ron Paul. And anyone supporting Hagel as SecDef, given Obama’s desire to bash Republicans, is an utter fool.

    The lunatic part, that’s another matter.

  • kounjd

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  • Rob Crawford

    “Neocons are Trotskyites who use conservative language to justify leftist statism.”


  • Rob Crawford

    When you do it the way you do, sure.

  • Old Rebel

    I dimly recall Logic 101, when I learned that the best response to an argument was an obscenity. You played it well.

    Actually, the writings of Leo Strauss and Irving Kristol, both Trotskyites, became the basis of “Neoconservative” thought. That’s well documented. Here’s a short summary:

    Wiki has more on both men if you wish to learn more. Or you can continue to support men who yell “Support the troops!” while whispering “Support amnesty” and “Register all guns.” It’s your choice.

  • McGehee

    No thanks. I already get spam delivered to me at home.

  • Eric Ashley

    The problem with paleocons is they don’t seem to have an answer for ‘if we follow your polcies, what then?’. They don’t have an answer for Belmont Club’s Three Conjectures. And I remember reading Pournelle about Codevilla and feeling a hollow space in the arguement, and realizing that what Codevilla was supporting was kissing Europe goodbye.

    Now, I might find myself willing to do that, but it seems to me that one should at best face the consequences of your plans. If you plan to spend all your cash on beer and gambling, then realize and admit that you’re going to drive a junk car and live in a tiny apartment and have no savings.

    The problem with neocons is that they use Wilsonian tactics instead of Jacksonian tactics, and secondly that ‘globe full of democracies fancies’.

    The last problem with paleocons is their Da Jooz. Being fair to the Palis and the Jews would involve giving the Jews free rein to burn some towns down, and selling them the weapons to do so at a discount. Being fair to the Palis is like trying to be fair in the discord between Nazi Germany and Poland. The fair thing to do is to blow some Nazis off the map.

    Also, the Bible, the Ultimate Standard, says that those who bless the Jews will be blessed, and those who curse the Jews will be cursed. Avoiding the wrath of the Almighty considering our Temples to Moloch and Temples to Mammon and Temples to Gaia is a National Security Issue. Bismarck said that God looked after fools and the USA. I really don’t want that to change. A Divine hedge keeps away a lot of bad, and enables the survivors of some of the bad to recuperate instead of collapsing. So this Jew hate is nNOT Conservative.

  • Bob Belvedere

    You too, eh.

  • Bob Belvedere

    I loves my Spam cooked on the grill.

  • Eric Ashley

    To be clear, I’m not really sure what to do about foreign policy.

  • Adjoran

    And don’t forget Sammy Davis, Jr. – a Joo who went so far as to convert to Negritude to further the Zionist protocols.

  • ConantheCimmerian

    Ol Reb has “done it” in which “way”?
    By pointing out the truth that the neoconservatives evolved from Trotskyites?

    Are you hearing Chris Matthews dog whistles?

    How bout you do the research, and quit throwing out/implying the baseless accusations?

  • ConantheCimmerian

    Yes, they are big govt. republicans.

    They are statists. Just not full blown commie-statists. They evolved from that Trotsky to more of a corporatist transnationalism instead of communist transnationalism.

    Mark Levin (a jew btw) complains about them all of the time. Lawrence Auster (His blog titled, A View From The Right) also complains about the neoconservative statism and lack of true conservative principles all of the time. (Btw, Auster is an ethnic jew that converted to christianity). Here is the website addy if you wish to peruse and learn:

  • ConantheCimmerian

    Is this supposed to be funny, or is just plain ol stupidity? Hint, if your are trying for funny, it ain’t working.

  • ConantheCimmerian

    And Lawrence Auster and Mark Levin, see above.

  • ConantheCimmerian

    Well, they did come up with that great stategery of invade the world/invite the world.

    Let’s invade the muslim countries and then bring them back to the US to settle and become citizens. Now, what could ever go wrong with that plan (see Londonistan for the future)?

  • ConantheCimmerian

    How about these quick ideas:

    1. Get outta muslim countries.

    2. If an muslim country attacks us, attack in retaliation then leave. No nation building.

    3. Kick out all non citizen muslims in the US. No more visas, no exchange students, nothing.

    4. Only trade with them, if they behave themselves. If they do not see 2.

    5. Be an ally to Israel. Be as we would as with any other ally.

    6. Stop giving aid to the Middle East. Cut it all off. Israel is not poor, and they do not need it. If something is needed in the way of defense we can sell them arms 1st, and aid them as an ally second.
    Also, Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood can hoof it on their own. They do not need our F-16’s and M1 Abrams.
    We do not need to be arming the various muslim factions with our free gifts.

    Is this really that difficult to figure out? No, no it is not.

  • Eric Ashley

    Thank you, Conan.

    Can you answer my question as to the Three Conjectures?

    1-4 seem a defensible foreign policy although I’m not sure this would work.

    5, I flatly disagree with for reasons of National Security as already stated.

    6. I suspect Israel does need our help. While somewhat wealthy, they are also surrounded by hordes.

    As to stop giving the Muslim Brotherhood, F-16’s I imagine most here would agree with you.

  • Eric Ashley

    And you are of course aware that ‘retreating’ which is what it will look like will empower the aggressive Anti-American factions, and provoke them to further attacks?

    Also, what about oil? Pournelle suggested that for the same $ we could have built a hundred nuclear power plants in the USA, and in a world where the Ecofreaks did not have such a power as they have, he would be right. But arguably its easier to invade and nation build than to reform our own nation by destroying the ‘let’s sacrifice the Future to Gaia’ dopeheads.

  • JDP

    your thoughts on criticism vs. single-cause conspiracism echo mine exactly

    you seem to know a decent amount about the paleo vs. neo stuff, i was curious if you could explain when exactly rabid anti-Israeli sentiment became the defining aspect of the former crowd? do they find it a convincing way to argue that the U.S. has been “tricked” into too much interventionism, is their beef with Jewish liberals in America, is it just tribal anti-neocon butthurt…

    i’ve taken to thinking of the paleo right and the anti-Israeli far left as the modern-day Nazi-Soviet pact

  • JDP

    i mean “The American Conservative” and “The American Prospect” now share offices. they agree on the number one issue in American life: the Netanyahu Menace

  • K-Bob

    Your discomfort at his humorous joke makes it funnier.

  • K-Bob

    The intellectual rift between neos and paleos is best seen in light of the various other groups that fall under the political right:
    A) The old, “Rockerfeller” Republicans
    B) Beltway “Masthead and Columnist” Republicans
    C) Neo-Cons
    D) Cotton Conservatives
    E) Reagan Conservatives
    F) Values Conservatives
    G) Buchanan Conservatives
    H) libertarian/fiscal cons
    I) neo-libertarians

    (I pointedly use the lowercase ‘l’ for libertarian here because I do not mean hardcore, Rothbard versus Rockwell, Libertarian Party activists and organizers.)

    Jeffrey Lord defines Cotton Conservatives here, I came up with “Values” Conservatives to describe guys like Romney and Rubio (they seem to follow a fairly conservative line, but don’t seem well-grounded in the philosophy behind the Founding), and several writers have described the Ron Paul followers as neo-libertarians, since they are far more radical regarding Jews and National Defense than bog-standard Libertarians.

    This list is more-or-less in order of most statist to least, however several odd resonances exist among groups that aren’t consecutive in this list. For example, the neo-libertarians are very similar to the Paleo-cons in their lack of support/intolerance of Israel, and Neo-cons and Reaganites both believe in maintaining military, logistical, and naval superiority.

    Bottom line regarding Stacy’s post is that the lack of accord between the Paleos and Neos is 1) Not the only dissension on the right, and 2) Not an insurmountable problem to a candidate that actually understand the Founding principles, and who can deliver a decent speech.

  • FOAF

    ” subsequent events showed that Necons enjoyed a hegemonic influence in GOP circles”

    Did they enjoy “hegemonic influence” during the 1st Bush (GHW) administration, with Jim “fuck-the-Jews” Baker as SoS? That’s when the paleos really went off the deep end, claiming the 1st Gulf war was instigated for Israel’s benefit when it was obviously undertaken to save the Saudis with protection for Israel as a side dish.

  • JDP

    the problem with this is that there’s instability in the M.E. right now that isn’t a reaction to our support for Israel, and we have an interest in seeing that select areas don’t turn into al Qaeda cesspools, as they’ll hate us regardless of whether we cut off some aid from Israel

    i dunno why exactly we should allow terrorist groups to dictate the terms of our alliances anyway. you can understand these people’s “grievances” while still thinking they’re bullshit.

  • Adjoran

    Well, I stole it directly from the old National Lampoon, probably Michael O’Donahue, but then humor is a matter of personal taste – or lack thereof.

  • Adjoran

    Yup. Levin. Joo.

    So many Jooz, so few ovens.

  • Adjoran

    What would we do without Joo Detectors like you?

  • FOAF

    K-bob, thanks for linking to the Jeffrey Lord article on “Cotton Conservatives”. It is a must-read.

  • The Political Hat

    The fact that Ron Paul’s more rabid supporters are willing to condemn Rand with such virulence actually HELPS Rand if/when he runs for President himself.

  • Gary Rosen

    When Israel was born, a large portion of the American security establishment was unsympathetic. Maybe a little old-fashioned “country club” antisemitism was involved but the basic thought was simply “the Arabs have all the oil, screw Israel”. I can respect that point of view even if I disagree with it (but don’t get me started on whining about the Palis while most of Israel’s enemies are bloody human rights hellholes). Bush 41/Baker that I mentioned above exemplified that train of thought – i .e. more “Arabist” but still for a strong defense posture.

    However it seems that this has almost disappeared lately and the anti-Zionists now coincide almost exactly with the Michael Moore/Ron Paul (take your pick) crowd who blame America first and want us to drastically reduce our military footprint. I can think of reasons for this but it is interesting that it is so hard anyone now who is skeptical of Israel but still favors a strong military. Recognizing of course that “strong military” or “strong defense” may cover an awfully broad range of policies i. e. could be “neocon” or “Jacksonian/national interest” etc.

  • Gary Rosen

    “hard anyone” s/b “hard to find anyone”

  • Bob Belvedere

    A version of Mr. Kirk’s lecture that is without the errors of the Heritage version may be found here:

    Warning: Although a PDF, it is an image scan of the lecture, so the file size is large.

  • Bob Belvedere

    Indeed, and that is needed very much now.

    I just worry that Rand Paul is as ‘off’ as his old man is. I’ll be watching him, but reserve any judgements until I see him in action for several more years.

  • Bob Belvedere

    Is it just me [am I so old] that I have to stop for a minute when I read ‘WFB’ and wonder if the writer is referring to the late William F. Buckley?

  • Bob Belvedere

    Well-done, K-Bob.

    May I be so bold as to add one additional category…

    J) John Adams Conservatives: Those of us who possess an 18th Century mindset that is aligned with the thinking of Low-Federalist Adams [wary of foreign entanglements, but understanding that America must be engaged in world affairs for it’s own, ultimate security, a strong belief in the philosophies of Edmund Burke and Pitt The Younger, even though they were often in opposition to each other, and a deep disdain for many of the beliefs of Hamiltonians and Jeffersonians]. We’re small in number, but we’re out there.

  • Gary Rosen

    Would “Adams Conservatives” actually be after neo-libertarians on the above scale? I think they’d maybe be between Values and Buchanan Cons (not imputing any of Buchanan’s jooo-obsession to you in case there is any confusion).

  • Bob Belvedere

    Understood. It comes down to temperment in this case. Both Adams and Burke would have found both groups ‘sticks in the muds’, lacking that sense of Life as tragic and absurd, and, most importantly, being unable to wield The Sword Of Imagination. Also, the two men had a bit of the 18th Century swashbuckler in them [though, most certainly not when it came to personal Morality].

    I suppose it’s just a desire in myself [and in those two great men, whose presence I am not worthy to be in] to never be part of any group that is beyond small.

  • Bob Belvedere

    We few, we happy few….

  • K-Bob

    I like that, but I don’t see as much distance between Adams and Jefferson as you probably do. To me, Adams was simply a more, hmmm… moral-minded man, and Jefferson was more of a “philosophy ex-nihlo” man. I.e., Jefferson was strongly mindful of the Bible and Morals, although willing to lose the Biblical aspect, if not totally necessary to the pure reason of the argument.

    For example, I suspect that Jefferson would be able to see a “moral” sense of tolerating abortion in cases of rape, whereas I suspect Adams would never condone abortion for any reason whatsoever, probably including a danger to life of the Mother caused by the pregnancy or delivery. (Abigail might have been necessary to make the call in such cases.)

    Adams was a little closer to Reagan in my mind, and Jefferson closer to libertarianism. That’s what my studies have led me to. I’m sure there are other viewpoints equally valid.

    However I’d guess both would be shocked at modern libertarians.

    I believe both men were crucial to the early mindset of the Republic. They provided the backbone of reason, infused with Morality, whereas Madison was a brilliant legal logician, and Washington a natural Leader. Without those four minds, inspired by their close friends and advisors—as we know they were—this country would have been Yugoslavia.

    (EDIT: Accidentally typed Hamilton instead of Madison. Bad fingers! No biscuit!)

  • K-Bob

    It’s that odd resonances thing, I guess. Adams was much more strongly informed on Locke’s philosophy than almost any living politician today, so I would have to put him closer to the libertarian end of the scale than the Values and Buchanan folks.

    On the other hand, Adams would agree with Reagan and the Neo-cons that those who seek peace must prepare for war.