Former McCain chief of staff: If Rand Paul is the 2016 nominee, Republicans concerned with national security will have to support Hillary

posted at 6:41 pm on July 7, 2014 by Allahpundit

I’m two weeks late on this and wouldn’t have noticed it at all had the key bit not been quoted in this weekend’s NYT op-ed on the (potential) great Hillary/neoconservative alliance.

But it should be noticed.

The shortcomings of President Obama as a statesman are numerous and obvious. He may be the worst foreign policy president in my lifetime, surpassing even the inept Jimmy Carter. Almost any one of the serious 2016 presidential candidates in either of our major parties would be an improvement over the incumbent commander-in-chief.

The glaring exception is the junior senator from Kentucky. His foreign policy views, steeped as they are in the crackpot theories that inform his father’s worldview, are so ill-conceived that were he to win the nomination, Republican voters seriously concerned with national security would have no responsible recourse other than to vote for Hillary Clinton.

It’s not just any Capitol Hill apparatchik who wrote that. It’s Mark Salter, Maverick’s right-hand man for 20 years, chief speechwriter during his 2008 presidential campaign, and co-author of numerous books with McCain. If he’s thinking this way, it makes me wonder what McCain’s thinking. And if McCain’s thinking this way, it makes me wonder what sort of schism we might see in 2016 if Rand ends up as the nominee. I wrote about that last year. Maverick will deny it (for now), of course, but I’ve always thought there’s a real chance that he’d cross the aisle and endorse Hillary if Paul wins the Republican nomination. Joe Lieberman did it for him in 2008 in the name of national security, remember. McCain would simply be repaying the kindness to another hawkish Democrat. (With a speaking gig at the Dem convention, maybe?) What he ends up doing will depend on whether he decides to run for Senate again in 2016 after all. Can’t run as a Republican if you’re backing a Democrat for the White House that November, right? Either Maverick would have to retire, leaving him free to endorse who he likes, or he’ll have to play ball with Paul 2016. Although, McCain being McCain, maybe he’d enjoy the challenge of sticking it to the “wacko birds” by endorsing Hillary and winning the Republican primary anyway. If he ends up losing, he can always blame the “ideological extremists” in his own party and go out a martyr.

Via the Right Scoop, here’s Maverick doing his best to deflect a Hillary question this weekend. By the way, how soon before we see Team Rand reaching out to McCain to find common ground? They know there’s a chance that McCain would cross the aisle if Paul’s the nominee and they know that could be damaging in feeding the “Paul’s too extreme” narrative that Democrats will be pushing to undecideds. They can live with him staying neutral, probably, but that may come at a price. What’s the price? Or does this matter at all given that there are likely to be other prominent hawks, starting with Dick Cheney, who walk away from the GOP in 2016 if Paul’s the nominee? Obviously it matters to Hillary — she’d much rather tout McCain’s endorsement than Cheney’s given their respective levels of public approval — but we’re destined to have a big-name GOP defection or two in 2016 if Paul’s the pick no matter what McCain does. Salter’s column is an early warning.

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At some point, the GOP needs to come to terms with the fact that the US public, including a large segment of conservatives, no longer favor interventionism, giving the government the benefit of the doubt on surveillance, etc. 9-11 was 15 years ago. Policies and attitudes set in place in reaction to that horrible day are not set in stone. Nor should they be.

hamiltmc on July 7, 2014 at 8:47 PM

It was 13 yrs ago.
We are still at war with AQ & their allies.

Not sure what you mean by interventionism.
The UN is a toothless, corrupt bureaucracy.
The world needs a bit of policing.
Not parking-ticket kind of policing.
But if not for the US’s “interventionism,” China would have conquered its southern & eastern neighbors by now.
If not for the US’s interventionism, Russia would have swallowed up its former Soviet satellites.
If not for the US’s “interventionism, many other wars of conquest would have happened in the past 30 years.
Do you really want such a world?
Do you want ever-increasing Chinese & Russian empires?

Better than the US as world cop:
Dump the UN.
Form a League of Free Nations.
Russia, China, & other thug-rule nations need not apply.

itsnotaboutme on July 8, 2014 at 1:57 AM

Sure, let’s have McCain at the Dem convention talking up more Iraq-style military interventions around the world.

I suspect that won’t be nearly as helpful as Hillary might hope.

Hell, those ads would write themselves.

DRayRaven on July 8, 2014 at 5:51 AM

Its time this RINO retired,
when push comes to shove he votes liberal

the only time McLame knows he is a republican is at Reelection.

And i am sick and tired of him playing “i was a pow of the vietnam” CARD every time someone asks why he is siding with liberals.

sniffles1999 on July 8, 2014 at 8:29 AM

Clinton-McCain 2016.

Naked Emperor on July 8, 2014 at 9:07 AM

ISIS is using this picture in their campaign ads as an endorsement from John McCain:

“It was a very moving experience to meet these fighters who have been struggling now for over two years. And they’re very aware of the battlefield situation and they’re very disturbed about the dramatic influx of Hezbollah fighters, more Iranians, and of course, stepped-up activities of Bashar Assad.”

– John McCain in 2013 supporting barbaric Islamists who cut people up.

It’s very obvious that American interventionism benefits monied interests and not the American people, unless of course those people are employed by Lockheed Martin, JPMorganChase, KBR, etc. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if ISIS gets money from the West to keep this going.

FYI – there would have been no Soviet Union without American captial. Ditto for Nazi Germany. Google Antony Sutton’s work for the documented evidence.

republicanmother on July 8, 2014 at 9:58 AM

Well if they do they will just prove what we have all known all along-they are not and never have been conservatives.McCain and Graham should just both come out of the damn closet and tell the world they are lovers and Democrats.

redware on July 8, 2014 at 11:05 AM

Rand Paul is not going to get the nomination.

terryannonline on July 7, 2014 at 6:49 PM


itsnotaboutme on July 7, 2014 at 6:52 PM

Paul won’t get the nomination, the RINO’s won’t allow it

burserker on July 8, 2014 at 2:53 PM

Mark Salter was the one in the NH primary that said things like that about Mitt Romney too.

Fleuries on July 8, 2014 at 4:24 PM