On Friday, Senator Rand Paul gave a rousing speech at CPAC in which he repudiated almost the entire Republican foreign policy of the aughts, attacking unlimited government surveillance and calling for a new emphasis on civil liberties. On Saturday, he won the CPAC straw poll.
Few politicians have engendered such a philosophical shift as Paul, whose filibuster alone completely rewrote public opinion on drones. But the decisiveness of that shift can mask the fact that the details of Paul’s foreign policy, while not indecisive, are tough to nail down. Paul knows there’s a golden mean between the extremes of neoconservatism and isolationism, but he often sounds like he’s still searching for it.
Two days after calling for a less hawkish foreign policy at CPAC, Paul released this op-ed in Time magazine: