Rand Paul’s new 2016 nemesis: John Bolton?

posted at 6:01 pm on June 25, 2013 by Allahpundit

You think Rand’s worried about the hawkish side of the Republican party being represented at the debates by one of the most prominent faces of George W. Bush’s foreign-policy team? Soft isolationism’s going to be a hard sell to conservatives, but one way to maximize its chances is to have its main spokesman hail from an administration whose unpopularity ended up helping to get Barack Obama elected.

Imagine if it happens. In 2008, Ron Paul played gadfly to a stage full of Republican interventionists. In 2016, John Bolton might be the one playing gadfly to … er, a stage full of Republican interventionists plus Ron Paul’s son. Times change.

Paul’s positions and rapid ascent have alarmed many Republican hawks. Behind the scenes, they’re worried that he has a shot at the nomination.

Enter John Bolton. Bolton, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, is being encouraged by several leading conservative power brokers to consider a presidential bid.

Bolton, who briefly considered running for president in 2012, hasn’t made up his mind. But sources tell me that he is moving closer to giving the idea serious consideration — serious enough to travel to Iowa and New Hampshire.

Later this year and throughout 2014, the former Reagan and Bush official will begin an informal national tour.

Bolton also plans to start “a few related groups” to push his policy positions, notes Robert Costa. Is this a case of him building an organization because he’s really thinking about running or is it a case, as New York mag speculates, of him hinting idly about running in order to promote his organization? He talked about running last time too, remember, and didn’t pull the trigger. Then again, Ron Paul was never a threat to actually win the way Rand kinda sorta maybe a little bit is.

My hunch is that some establishment conservatives want an articulate hawkish foreign-policy specialist in the race as a stalking horse for more viable candidates like Rubio, who won’t benefit from being dragged into a battle with Paul over interventionism. Most rank-and-file Republicans are still hawks on balance, I think, but given a choice between Paul’s softer-than-Ron isolationism and McCainian hawkishness of the sort Rubio flirts with, Rand will get a real look. Even if Rubio wins that battle in the primaries, Democrats will use his more interventionist pronouncements from the primary against him in the general. (Yes, yes, I know, it’s ridiculous for Democrats to pretend they’re wary of interventionism at this point. But that’s politics.) Best to keep him, Jindal, Ryan, and the rest of the “electables” above the foreign-policy fray by bringing in Bolton in to try to discredit Paul’s approach while the Rubios in the race triangulate between them. If all goes according to plan, Paul loses and the eventual winner hasn’t irretrievably alienated anyone on foreign policy except the hardest hardliners on either side. And who knows? If the winner goes on to take the White House, maybe he rewards Bolton with a diplomatic appointment. That depends on Republicans recapturing the Senate, but that’s certainly possible by 2017.

Via Newsmax, here’s Bolton pronouncing Snowden a traitor a few weeks ago, just days after the PRISM story first broke. Skip to 6:15 for the key bit. Imagine that debate with Paul onstage in New Hampshire two years from now.


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Bolton can’t run. He’s already President of Red Eye.

Mark1971 on June 25, 2013 at 6:03 PM

Bolton and Paul would make for some interesting debates. Have at it, gentlemen.

Jeddite on June 25, 2013 at 6:04 PM

Rand Paul vs. John Bolton – for 2016?

Are you freaking kidding me – are we to believe this is the GOP option?

F-me!

jake-the-goose on June 25, 2013 at 6:05 PM

Stache, how exactly does this amount to an act of war? Who, exactly, are we at war with that he gave info to?

Or are you merely talking through your arse?

JohnGalt23 on June 25, 2013 at 6:08 PM

Heh. No.

Maybe in the days before the NSA info broke, but when Bolton jumped on the Snowden-traitor train straight away, he built himself a pretty big extra hurdle.

MadisonConservative on June 25, 2013 at 6:08 PM

Rand Paul vs. John Bolton – for 2016?

Are you freaking kidding me – are we to believe this is the GOP option?

F-me!

jake-the-goose on June 25, 2013 at 6:05 PM

You can’t possibly be serious in saying this after the past 20+ years of the crop of GOP candidates we’ve had.

Notorious GOP on June 25, 2013 at 6:08 PM

It would be nice to have a President who believed in defending America for a change!

Run John, run!

wren on June 25, 2013 at 6:08 PM

Oh great…. the isolationist vs. the neocon. Both extreme wings of the party. Hopefully, in their pie fight, a plain ole conservative would stand a chance to win the nomination. And forget Rubio, he too is a neocon. Our pub governors would be a better bet.

tommy71 on June 25, 2013 at 6:09 PM

It would be nice to have a President who believed in defending America for a change!

Run John, run!

wren on June 25, 2013 at 6:08 PM

Nothing wrong with defending America. The problem is his idea of defending everywhere else, especially if they can afford their own damn defense…

JohnGalt23 on June 25, 2013 at 6:12 PM

Interesting

gophergirl on June 25, 2013 at 6:12 PM

Oh great…. the isolationist vs. the neocon. Both extreme wings of the party. Hopefully, in their pie fight, a plain ole conservative would stand a chance to win the nomination. And forget Rubio, he too is a neocon. Our pub governors would be a better bet.

tommy71 on June 25, 2013 at 6:09 PM

Isolationism is quickly being defined by “let’s not waste our money, equipment, and men on a mission to help the f**king terrorists”.

In other words, it’s sounding mighty tempting.

MadisonConservative on June 25, 2013 at 6:14 PM

So Bolton has absolutely no connection to Kentucky? Sounds like another carpetbagger to me. Stop this already, Senator is not a national office. This is a prime example why there ought to be a 10 year residency requirement in a state to run for office.

reddevil on June 25, 2013 at 6:16 PM

Americaland defending every nation is what will eventually lead to Red Dawn II. No, not North Korea invading Americaland specifically. But when Americaland collapses and cant afford to play World Cop™, what’s to stop Kim Jung Ung MoonPie Sung II from invading Nova Scotia? Europe? /GUFFAW

Jeddite on June 25, 2013 at 6:18 PM

I wonder if the Stupid Party is stupid enough to nominate another neoconservative who will remind them of why they replaced Bush with Obama?

antifederalist on June 25, 2013 at 6:19 PM

Well, I like them both, but, acting as a stalking horse for the establishment GOP, in order to protect Rubio, doesn’t help the image of Sir John. I’m happy to watch them duke it out, though.

a capella on June 25, 2013 at 6:19 PM

Rand kinda sorta maybe a little bit is

My hunch is that some

If all goes according to plan

.
You a just a quivering mass of RINO thinking today, AP.

First, you throw yourself on the “Snowden is THE story” bandwagon.

(With nary a thought to “HOW did Snowden get a document to which only 30 – 40 people on the face of the Earth have access?”)

And now you are playing out the political chess moves 3 YEARS in the future in the “hesitant future tense”.

Since you are not remotely trying for an investigative level of thinking, do you see yourself as a blogger, commentator or some horse of a different color?

PolAgnostic on June 25, 2013 at 6:26 PM

Why do we let the 6 early states decide the nominee? By the time we in Georgia get to vote – Super Tuesday – it is all over anyways. Stupid Party.

Actually I think it is time to go 3rd party. The only place a national party really counts is the White House and we aren’t going to win that one anyways. The fix is already in.

See immigration reform, Obamacare, stimulus, all these are just vehicles for putting taxpayer money into Democratic coffers.

odannyboy on June 25, 2013 at 6:26 PM

How about if we just save time and and effort and forget about Rand Paul and Bolton and go with Ted Cruz?

Pork-Chop on June 25, 2013 at 6:26 PM

Bolton would make the better President but Paul would likely win. Paul is good about hitting people’s emotional hot buttons, even when it is a load of hooey. Bolton is more cerebral, more logically driven. Paul would appeal more to the “hair on fire” low information right wing “chemtrails” and “nsa is spying on all our phone calls” crowd. He would do well among the Alex Jones, Glen Beck, and Pat Dollard crowds. That crowd wouldn’t even understand what Bolton is even talking about.

crosspatch on June 25, 2013 at 6:27 PM

How about if we just save time and and effort and forget about Rand Paul and Bolton and go with Ted Cruz Marco Rubio?

Pork-Chop on June 25, 2013 at 6:26 PM

FIF Illinidiva

RickB on June 25, 2013 at 6:29 PM

Hell, I’ve got more to fear from my own government than some foreign country.

Panther on June 25, 2013 at 6:30 PM

Oh please run. Please!

Rae on June 25, 2013 at 6:31 PM

The Stache! As for the other commentators that have so many opinions and solutions: why don’t YOU run?

Dingbat63 on June 25, 2013 at 6:35 PM

How about if we just save time and and effort and forget about Rand Paul and Bolton and go with Ted Cruz?

Pork-Chop on June 25, 2013 at 6:26 PM

Some of us would like to see what Rand can do.

gophergirl on June 25, 2013 at 6:35 PM

If Bolton and Paul are running, all we need is Santorum to balance the l**ny equation. That’d be hilarious. But that way, maybe a nornal Conservative Republican Governor could win the nomination. Go right, folks. Jump into the race.

tommy71 on June 25, 2013 at 6:37 PM

Bolton, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, is being encouraged by several leading conservative power brokers to consider a presidential bid.

Beware those so-called ‘power brokers’. They’re trying to piss in the soup with their touting of Bolton for President.

Of all the people we don’t want running for Chief Executive, the ones who have no records of election nor executive responsibility are the principal standouts. Mr. Bolton has no such track record. Yes, he’s in the equivalent position that Obama was pre-2008, but the MSM hates him worse than it loved Obama, and his name recognition is largely negative on that account.

He did a fine job at the UN as a recess appointment, but it was all too short. Bring him into a new administration, fine, but forget the Presidential ambitions.

Insufficiently Sensitive on June 25, 2013 at 6:39 PM

Even though I don’t think Bolton’s presidential material, I hope he runs anyway. Paul the Younger needs to defend his philosophy against someone other than a Fox News host.

KingGold on June 25, 2013 at 6:42 PM

The Stache! As for the other commentators that have so many opinions and solutions: why don’t YOU run?Dingbat63 on June 25, 2013 at 6:35 PM

Huh? Isn’t this a political blog? I’ve been posting here all these years and didn’t realize running for office was a requisite for commenting. Well,…now I DO know. Thanks.

a capella on June 25, 2013 at 6:43 PM

Paul the Younger needs to defend his philosophy against someone other than a Fox News host.

KingGold on June 25, 2013 at 6:42 PM

Yep.

I lost some respect for him after what happened between him and Madcow…

Anti-Control on June 25, 2013 at 6:44 PM

Bully.

He looks a bit like Teddy Roosevelt in that pic.

Fallon on June 25, 2013 at 6:45 PM

Bully.

He looks a bit like Teddy Roosevelt in that pic.

Fallon on June 25, 2013 at 6:45 PM

It’ll be fun. They can have Geraldo or Scott Pelley as a mod.:)

a capella on June 25, 2013 at 6:48 PM

the RINO party will get Bush. this is just a side fight to take down Paul. They don’t want bolton..they want Bush III

maybe jeff huntsman as VP, to get the No labels crowd

r keller on June 25, 2013 at 6:54 PM

Isolationism is quickly being defined by “let’s not waste our money, equipment, and men on a mission to help the f**king terrorists”.
In other words, it’s sounding mighty tempting.
MadisonConservative on June 25, 2013 at 6:14 PM

Good answer. In the interest of comity and reasonable discussion we’ve allowed our opponents to define us since the end of the Reagan era. We have to stop that. Bolton was an excellent ambassador to the U.N. I disagree with him on some things, (Snowden for one) but let’s hear what he has to say. I’m getting old and I want to see the country with adult leadership before I’m gone. It’s amazing what this bunch of petulant children in D.C. Has done in five years.

yesiamapirate on June 25, 2013 at 6:54 PM

My hunch is that some establishment conservatives want an articulate hawkish foreign-policy specialist in the race as a stalking horse for more viable candidates like Rubio, who won’t benefit from being dragged into a battle with Paul over interventionism. Most rank-and-file Republicans are still hawks on balance, I think, but given a choice between Paul’s softer-than-Ron isolationism and McCainian hawkishness of the sort Rubio flirts with, Rand will get a real look. Even if Rubio wins that battle in the primaries, Democrats will use his more interventionist pronouncements from the primary against him in the general. (Yes, yes, I know, it’s ridiculous for Democrats to pretend they’re wary of interventionism at this point. But that’s politics.)

1. “establishment conservatives” don’t exist. Please use Republican Puppetmasters in the future.

2. Marco Rubio’s presidential candidacy is about as viable as new life at the Gosnell clinic.

3. Think again on the “still hawks on balance” horse crap; the public, like we soldiers, tend to want to kick less a** when it is shown that we won’t be allowed to really kick a**.

4. The campaign poster for Hillary, featuring the corpse of Ambassador Stevens, is going to look swell.

M240H on June 25, 2013 at 6:54 PM

Isolationism is quickly being defined by “let’s not waste our money, equipment, and men on a mission to help the f**king terrorists”.

In other words, it’s sounding mighty tempting.

MadisonConservative on June 25, 2013 at 6:14 PM

Yes, we need to quit wasting money on nation building. The pundits might be surprised to find that the majority of Americans favor this approach.

Our military should be used sparingly to defend our allies with quick, surgical strikes. No more ten year wars. Spend our tax dollars on building up our military so that no one wants to mess with us. I prefer that approach. The hammer!

Get these wienies out of office so we can get to the task of rebuilding our republic.

Amjean on June 25, 2013 at 6:55 PM

Everytime I see Bolton on Fox I always wonder how much the defense industry is paying him for his rhetoric.

celt on June 25, 2013 at 7:04 PM

By the end of Obama’s terms, we’ll need someone like Bolton.

Count to 10 on June 25, 2013 at 7:06 PM

Soft isolationism’s going to be a hard sell to conservatives,

Not by 2016 it won’t be. Paul has got time, events and public mood on his side. Bolton doesn’t.

rrpjr on June 25, 2013 at 7:07 PM

I love it when I listen to the TV and hear all the pundits say how the religious right is the problem with the Republican Party. Yet, if you ask the low information voter what the problem is with George W Bush religion never comes up, it’s always Iraq and interventionism. The interventionist wing of the Republican party has been costing us elections since McCain. The world has changed a lot folks since 2004- them kids are not into perpetual war. Their whole childhood has been spent with the US fighting wars.

OliverB on June 25, 2013 at 7:07 PM

There is a huge difference between wanting a strong Nat’l defense to protect us and strong Nat’l defense to project us. Time was that Republicans proudly wore the badge of isolationists in the sense that they did not want the country to be constantly embroiled in other countries’ affairs. Makes sense to me. George Washington thought the same way.

Lou Budvis on June 25, 2013 at 7:10 PM

Clearly Snowden is a traitor because he is giving the rest of the world another Casus Belli for someday wiping us off the map.

pc on June 25, 2013 at 7:15 PM

Good luck grandpa.

abobo on June 25, 2013 at 7:16 PM

Bring it stache!

Raaaannnddd eats neocons for breakfast.

KirknBurker on June 25, 2013 at 7:17 PM

r keller on June 25, 2013 at 6:54 PM

Man, I miss ol’ Wilford Huntsman!

Barred on June 25, 2013 at 7:26 PM

Mark my words. Rand Paul is the only presidential contender who can potentially beat Hillary.

libfreeordie on June 25, 2013 at 7:32 PM

I am a conservative Republican, but have never been as impressed by John Bolton or Dick Cheney as many are.

bw222 on June 25, 2013 at 7:34 PM

The interventionist wing of the Republican party has been costing us elections since McCain. The world has changed a lot folks since 2004- them kids are not into perpetual war. Their whole childhood has been spent with the US fighting wars.

OliverB on June 25, 2013 at 7:07 PM

Amen. In 2008 the GOP nominated the only possible candidate worse than Barack Obama. As bad as he is (and he is horrid), at least Barack Obama hasn’t started WWIII. President McCain just may have.

bw222 on June 25, 2013 at 7:37 PM

Are you freaking kidding me? Bolton? I thought we cared about electability? No?

iwasbornwithit on June 25, 2013 at 7:38 PM

By all means, let Bolton be Jeb’s stalking horse.

Please.

It will turn this into a Rand/Jindal/Cruz matchup in under a month.

budfox on June 25, 2013 at 7:41 PM

It would be nice to have a President who believed in defending America for a change!

Run John, run!

wren on June 25, 2013 at 6:08 PM

bw222 on June 25, 2013 at 7:47 PM

It would be nice to have a President who believed in defending America for a change!

Run John, run!

wren on June 25, 2013 at 6:08 PM

Defending America or policing the world?

Bolton enlisted in the National Guard (which in the Viet Nam days was a way of avoiding Nam). Other than John McCain (who is certifiably crazy) few hawks have ever been in war. Miss Lucy was an Air Force JAG. There’s a greater danger of getting killed in an accident on the way home from the bath house Officers Club than getting killed in battle if you are a JAG.

bw222 on June 25, 2013 at 7:53 PM

And give up his sweet gig hawking Diabeetus supplies for Liberty Medical?

iwasbornwithit on June 25, 2013 at 8:19 PM

Bolton is not the traditional neo-con because he actually does understand that Islam is the cause of most of the problems in the middle east, unlike Rubio and most Neo-cons, Bolton is not trying to find the moderate Islam and does not support he Islamic democracy project, at least not anymore.

William Eaton on June 25, 2013 at 8:46 PM

Bolton is a statist and a chickenhawk.

VorDaj on June 25, 2013 at 9:15 PM

Rand Paul is not an isolationist. I don’t think you even know what an isolationist is.

VorDaj on June 25, 2013 at 9:16 PM

here’s Bolton pronouncing Snowden a traitor a few weeks ago

Bolton supports traitors which makes him a traitor. He can take his Stasi State and shove it.

VorDaj on June 25, 2013 at 9:19 PM

I’d appoint Bolton Secretary of State in a heartbeat, but I would not vote for him for president.

Othniel on June 25, 2013 at 9:35 PM

Rand Paul is not an isolationist. I don’t think you even know what an isolationist is.

VorDaj on June 25, 2013 at 9:16 PM

Meh. There really isn’t a word for those who have bought into the KGB’s “blame America first” campaign to get the US off the world stage. “Isolationist” is just the closest thing that fits.

Count to 10 on June 25, 2013 at 9:37 PM

“Isolationism” or “non-interventionism”, either way, it is national suicide.

Count to 10 on June 25, 2013 at 9:41 PM

As much as I admire Bolton, he’s too grown up and mature to debate a modern democrat.

He needs to update his 1970′s porno stache’ other then that, I like the guy.

b1jetmech on June 25, 2013 at 9:46 PM

Enough with the progressive interventionists. It’s sad the GOP is even willing to consider folks like Bolton and Rubio.

letoile du nord on June 25, 2013 at 9:59 PM

“Isolationism” or “non-interventionism”, either way, it is national suicide.

Count to 10 on June 25, 2013 at 9:41 PM

Put on a uniform and go over and clean up Afcrapistan. Don’t forget to write.

VorDaj on June 25, 2013 at 10:03 PM

Enough with the progressive interventionists. It’s sad the GOP is even willing to consider folks like Bolton and Rubio.

letoile du nord on June 25, 2013 at 9:59 PM

Death wish and in more ways than one.

VorDaj on June 25, 2013 at 10:04 PM

Mr. Bolton on drone use and due process:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=DbeLJCiqm-I

oryguncon on June 25, 2013 at 11:18 PM

He needs to be SOS And I just read he supports gay marriages–there goes my support.

Bullhead on June 25, 2013 at 11:40 PM

Bolton doesn’t have the charisma to win. Also, he is an imperialist and people are tired of us being the policemen of the world.

Decoski on June 26, 2013 at 12:46 AM

I don’t think there is any need to have these camps fighting with each other. All conservatives should be able to agree on two matters: Liberty and privacy is something we desire and extreme security measures might be necessary with what is at stake. We can then work towards making an America where more liberty and privacy is viable and there is no longer a necessity for extreme security measures. Of course, that means dealing forcefully with the root cause.

Buddahpundit on June 26, 2013 at 1:02 AM

But if John Bolton became President of the US, would he have to resign his office as President of Red Eye?

netster007x on June 26, 2013 at 2:09 AM

Bolton is a statist and a chickenhawk.

VorDaj on June 25, 2013 at 9:15 PM

Citing the Constitution and the three branches of our government does not make one a statist. Nor does describing aiding and abetting our enemies as treason make one a ‘chickenhawk’.

What John Bolton is not is a politician. He’s a straight shooter, and it is hard to see how one could get elected in these latter days of the Obamaphone. Maybe a take-no-prisoners Ted Cruz could do it. How about Cruz-West, with Bolton SoS?

MrLynn on June 26, 2013 at 4:29 PM