Andrea Mitchell says Rand Paul is ‘isolationist,’ like those who wouldn’t take on Hitler

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Two nights back, Andrea Mitchell of NBC caricatured Sen. Rand Paul’s antiwar views as “isolationist” and suggested he would have appeased Hitler.

It’s a replay of Republican debates of the last century, the isolationist senators who opposed getting into World War 2 before Pearl Harbor.

Mitchell was echoing Peter King, the rightwing Long Island congressman, who attacked Paul’s antiwar stance on CNN on July 31 by bringing up Hitler:

What this reminds me of, someone like Senator Paul and others in that isolationist wing, you know, the Republicans had this debate back in the 1930s when you had the isolationists and Charles Lindberghs said we should appease Hitler… I’m afraid that’s what Sen. Paul is going to do for us.

Paul certainly has a libertarian’s opposition to oversea adventures, but I don’t know that isolationist is fair. His website includes language that an antiwar leftist can also endorse: 

 If the military action is justified and there is no other recourse, I will cast my vote with a heavy heart.

I believe that the primary Constitutional function of the federal government is national defense, bar none. I believe that when we must go to war, we must have a Congressional declaration of war as the Constitution mandates….

We are already in two wars that we are not paying for. We are waging war across the Middle East on a credit card, one whose limit is rapidly approaching. And to involve our troops in further conflicts that hold no vital U.S. interests is wrong.

Andrea Mitchell also said that Paul was being isolationist in trying to cut off aid to Egypt in wake of the coup there. Here’s some of Paul’s argument about American policy in the event of a “coup”:

“All military aid must end, that’s the law. There is no presidential waiver, the law states unequivocally the aid must end,” Paul said. “If we choose to ignore our own laws, can we with a straight face preach to the rest of the world about the rule of law?”

Paul’s effort failed. And of course there was a lot of talk about Israel’s interest. Even Paul said he was acting in Israel’s interest.


The floor debate was virtually everyone versus Paul. Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) said cutting off aid to Egypt would also hurt Israel, a close ally.

“This is a question of whether the senator from Kentucky knows what’s better for Israel, or if Israel knows what’s better for Israel,” McCain said.

Israel was against cutting the aid. Ambassador Michael Oren said that aid is essential to Israel’s security. And AIPAC was strongly against cutting the aid, for the same reason. 

Dana Milbank, a supporter of Israel, called Paul an isolationist for wanting to cut off the aid. In that column, he sided with McCain, who had suggested that Paul is an America Firster. Andrea Mitchell also seemed to take McCain’s side. She smiled over the fact that McCain said in the New Republic that he might vote for Hillary Clinton over Rand Paul if they end up running against one another for president.

There are surely a lot of reasons to vote against Paul. But his foreign-policy views are threatening to neoconservatives and liberal interventionists– the people who got us into the Iraq war– and surely have broad appeal.

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