McCain: I apologize to Rand Paul and Ted Cruz for calling them “wacko birds”

posted at 6:59 pm on March 15, 2013 by Allahpundit

The key bit comes at 2:00. We all knew McCain was taking a lot of heat politically for dumping on Paul after his filibuster but I never would have guessed it was enough to squeeze an apology out of him. Good lord. How many times in his life, do you suppose, has Maverick apologized to a libertarian? Either he’s planning to run again for Senate in 2016 and wants to hedge his bets against a Paulian primary uprising in Arizona or he’s come to his senses and realized that his nastiness is doing the interventionist cause more harm than good. Either way, it’s time for a tactical retreat.

By the way, am I misunderstanding or does he seem to think Ted Cruz, like Paul, is some sort of isolationist? I’m … not sure why. There was no one in the Senate, McCain included, who was tougher on Chuck Hagel than Cruz. When the Washington Free Beacon asked him to explain, Cruz said it’s because Hagel “has repeatedly been soft on our enemies.” Paleocons have also noticed that Cruz, despite often being lumped in with Paul on foreign policy, sounds plenty hawkish on Iran. Maverick’s likely concluded that because Cruz and Paul both speak frequently about the tea party and the Constitution and because Cruz was, after all, Paul’s wingman during the drone filibuster that they’re simpatico on foreign policy, but I suspect that’s untrue. In fact, Cruz and Paul seem to me to represent the two sides of the tea-party coin. From the beginning, Ron Paul fans have insisted that he’s the “godfather” of the movement; there are certainly tea partiers, especially the younger set, who are doctrinaire libertarians and whom Rand is trying to mobilize. But there’s another wing, which skews a bit older, that’s composed of more traditional conservatives — hawkish, concerned about “values” — who are disaffected with the GOP leadership’s squishiness and looking to rebrand themselves. The two wings overlap on spending, the core tea-party concern, and on stricter observance of constitutional limits on government, but they diverge on social issues and on foreign policy. Cruz was an ally of Paul’s during the drone debate because of that constitutional overlap, and of course because it was a chance to rebuke Obama. If a bill hit the floor tomorrow authorizing military action against Iran, though, I’m a lot less confident than Maverick that Cruz would end up on Paul’s side rather than on McCain’s and Rubio’s. We’ll find out…

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