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2016: The Battle to be Reagan's Heir
National Review ^ | 03/12/2014 | Jonah Goldberg

Posted on 03/12/2014 6:47:43 AM PDT by SeekAndFind

It’s on! Ostensible allies for the last couple of years, senators Ted Cruz (R., Texas) and Rand Paul (R., Ky.) have commenced the battle for the unofficial title of conservative front-runner. That’s no surprise, but what is remarkable is their choice of weapons: foreign policy. For the last several years, there has been a lot of overblown hype about how the GOP, particularly the party base, is becoming isolationist. So it’s interesting that Cruz would seek to get to Paul’s right on the issue.

The first round began in earnest less than 24 hours after Paul — to no one’s surprise — won the Conservative Political Action Conference straw poll by a country mile. (Ron and Rand Paul have always overperformed in such contests, and Rand has his father’s machine working for him.)

“I’m a big fan of Rand Paul. He and I are good friends. I don’t agree with him on foreign policy,” Cruz said on ABC’s This Week. “I think U.S. leadership is critical in the world, and I agree with him that we should be very reluctant to deploy military force abroad. But I think there is a vital role, just as Ronald Reagan did. . . . The United States has a responsibility to defend our values.”

Paul responded almost immediately with an op-ed for Breitbart that was, depending on your reading, either a gentle rebuke or a not-so-passive-aggressive attack on Cruz. “Some politicians,” he wrote, “have used this time to beat their chest. What we don’t need right now is politicians who have never seen war talking tough for the sake of their political careers.”

Titled “Stop Warping Reagan’s Foreign Policy,” Paul’s op-ed is a clever bit of rhetorical jujitsu in which he criticizes others for using Reagan’s legacy while at the same time enlisting it for his own purposes. Paul offers a version of his father’s effort — during the 2008 and 2012 presidential primaries — to cast the Gipper as a noninterventionist who was plagued by hawks to his right.

Any analysis that casts the passionate anti-Communist invader of Grenada (without congressional approval), supporter of the Contras and Afghan mujahideen, champion of missile defense, bomber of Libya, and winner of the Cold War as a noninterventionist certainly gets points for creativity.

“I don’t claim to be the next Ronald Reagan nor do I attempt to disparage fellow Republicans as not being sufficiently Reaganesque,” Paul wrote, even as he disparaged politicians for distorting Reagan’s (allegedly) real record. “But I will remind anyone who thinks we will win elections by trashing previous Republican nominees or holding oneself out as some paragon in the mold of Reagan that splintering the party is not the route to victory.”

This last bit was a reference to Cruz’s CPAC speech in which Cruz mocked the GOP’s tendency to nominate moderates: “We all remember President Dole, President McCain, and President Romney.”

While probably sincere, Paul’s longstanding commitment to Reagan’s eleventh commandment — “Thou shalt not speak ill of another Republican” — also serves as a shrewd attempt to inoculate himself against real vulnerability.

His father was an often vicious critic of his fellow Republicans, including Reagan. In 1987, Ron Paul left the GOP to run as a libertarian presidential candidate, in the process denouncing Reagan for “massive monetary inflation, indiscriminate military spending, an irrational and unconstitutional foreign policy, zooming foreign aid, the exaltation of international banking, and the attack on our personal liberties and privacy.” Reaganomics, said Paul the Elder, was simply “warmed-over Keynesianism.” Rand is a very different man than his father, but his big-tent conservatism is a bit ironic given the fact he worked on his father’s campaign and is the heir to the Paul machine.

I have no idea who will win this battle. Right now it’s hard to see how Cruz can get past Paul. It’s also hard to see how a mainstream media that unfairly turned Dole, McCain, and Romney into extremists won’t make easy sport of Paul.

Last, it’s worth keeping in mind that no Republican since Reagan has won the nomination by first seeking to be the standard-bearer of the conservative base. That’s one aspect of the Reagan legacy both are eager to inherit.

— Jonah Goldberg is the author of The Tyranny of Clichés, now on sale in paperback


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 2106; neocon; randpaul; ronaldreagan; tedcruz

1 posted on 03/12/2014 6:47:43 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

Rather, continuing the legacy.


2 posted on 03/12/2014 6:50:56 AM PDT by Biggirl (“Go, do not be afraid, and serve”-Pope Francis)
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To: SeekAndFind
To Sarah Palin: History is calling for the first woman president , will you answer the phone?


3 posted on 03/12/2014 6:51:28 AM PDT by Democrat_media (Obama ordered IRS to rig 2012 election and must resign)
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To: SeekAndFind
I see bits and pieces of Reagan in many but none really come close to the whole package.

Ronald Reagan 1980 Republican National Convention Acceptance Address
4 posted on 03/12/2014 6:53:41 AM PDT by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: cripplecreek
Sarah Palin is better looking than Reagan so how does she not measure up? Think image doesn't matter? think again.

a million times more attractive take a look:


5 posted on 03/12/2014 6:58:42 AM PDT by Democrat_media (Obama ordered IRS to rig 2012 election and must resign)
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To: cripplecreek

There will never be another RR, period. Besides the sheer impossibility of replacing the person, this country is very, very different than it was in 1980 or 1984. And by different, not different in a good way.


6 posted on 03/12/2014 7:00:59 AM PDT by GOPsterinMA (You're a very weird person, Yossarian.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Ron Paul was anti-Reagan; considered the old star to be too much of a compromiser. How does Rand stand?


7 posted on 03/12/2014 7:01:16 AM PDT by Theodore R. (It was inevitable: Texans will always be for Cornball and George P.!)
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To: Democrat_media

I certainly hope not. The hymns of praise she keeps singing to John McCain...to this day...eliminate her from contention for my vote for anything, forever.


8 posted on 03/12/2014 7:02:30 AM PDT by pgkdan
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To: SeekAndFind

I believe that Ted Cruz is Reagan’s heir. Rand Paul is Goldwater’s


9 posted on 03/12/2014 7:03:31 AM PDT by Josh Painter (Shorter Obamunists: "We are the people the founding fathers warned us about.")
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To: GOPsterinMA

“good” should be “bad”.


10 posted on 03/12/2014 7:03:42 AM PDT by GOPsterinMA (You're a very weird person, Yossarian.)
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To: SeekAndFind

I don’t rust Rand Paul as far as I can throw him. I think he’s the ideological twin of his nutty father. He can’t hold a candle to Cruz as far as I’m concerned.


11 posted on 03/12/2014 7:03:58 AM PDT by pgkdan
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To: pgkdan
your "argument" is so ridiculous it does not deserve rebuttal. You're a democrat/socialist . how come you don't criticize your Obama the socialist?
12 posted on 03/12/2014 7:05:04 AM PDT by Democrat_media (Obama ordered IRS to rig 2012 election and must resign)
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To: Josh Painter
Rand Paul is Goldwater’s

No way. Reagan was Goldwater's heir. Rand Paul is heir to no one but his batshit crazy old man.

13 posted on 03/12/2014 7:05:21 AM PDT by pgkdan
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To: Democrat_media

Oh grow up!


14 posted on 03/12/2014 7:05:52 AM PDT by pgkdan
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To: pgkdan
your "argument" is so ridiculous it does not deserve rebuttal. I know you'd take Hillary Clinton over Sarah Palin. Those are the options. You're a democrat/socialist . how come you don't criticize your Obama the socialist?
15 posted on 03/12/2014 7:06:44 AM PDT by Democrat_media (Obama ordered IRS to rig 2012 election and must resign)
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To: Democrat_media
your "argument" is so ridiculous it does not deserve rebuttal.

LOL...because you gave no rebuttal! What a joke.

16 posted on 03/12/2014 7:06:47 AM PDT by pgkdan
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To: SeekAndFind

Why is it a shock that these two would choose foreign policy? They pretty much agree on everything else. What the MSM will miss is that Mr. Paul and Mr. Cruz can have an actual, intellectual disagreement and a good debate about it.


17 posted on 03/12/2014 7:07:16 AM PDT by FlipWilson
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To: pgkdan

Go donate $ to your democrat Hillary Clinton


18 posted on 03/12/2014 7:07:38 AM PDT by Democrat_media (Obama ordered IRS to rig 2012 election and must resign)
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To: pgkdan

RE: I don’t rust Rand Paul as far as I can throw him. I think he’s the ideological twin of his nutty father.

http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-TV/2014/03/09/Rand-Paul-My-Foreign-Policy-is-The-Same-As-Reagan-Peace-Through-Strength

RAND PAUL: MY FOREIGN POLICY IS THE SAME AS REAGAN’S PEACE THROUGH STRENGTH


19 posted on 03/12/2014 7:07:53 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: Democrat_media
your "argument" is so ridiculous it does not deserve rebuttal. I know you'd take Hillary Clinton over Sarah Palin. Those are the options. You're a democrat/socialist . how come you don't criticize your Obama the socialist?

That is one of the stupidest, most assinine and juvenile comments I've ever read on here in the 16 years I've been a Freeper. Your screen name fits!

20 posted on 03/12/2014 7:09:01 AM PDT by pgkdan
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To: pgkdan

you’re a liberal/socialist/democrat


21 posted on 03/12/2014 7:09:20 AM PDT by Democrat_media (Obama ordered IRS to rig 2012 election and must resign)
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To: Democrat_media

I would say that Rand Paul shows the Reaganesqe international restraint and fiscal ideals, Cruz shows Reagan conviction and fiscal ideals, Palin shows the Reagan compassion.

Its ridiculous to try to pin all things on one man that isn’t Reagan.


22 posted on 03/12/2014 7:11:04 AM PDT by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: pgkdan

stop hijacking this thread with your childish fighting you cry baby liberal/democrat

go cry to the government for some more government cheese


23 posted on 03/12/2014 7:11:09 AM PDT by Democrat_media (Obama ordered IRS to rig 2012 election and must resign)
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To: Democrat_media

I’ve already scraped you off the bottom of my shoe. Go bother someone else skippy.


24 posted on 03/12/2014 7:11:54 AM PDT by pgkdan
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To: SeekAndFind
It’s also hard to see how a mainstream media that unfairly turned Dole, McCain, and Romney into extremists won’t make easy sport of Paul.

They'd do that if the GOP nominated the reincarnation of George Washington. It'll happen no matter what, so it cancels out as an issue for choosing one candidate over another.

25 posted on 03/12/2014 7:12:15 AM PDT by Aqua Buddhist
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To: Josh Painter

Just my opinion but I really don’t care about heirs. Leaders come in all forms with their own distinctive styles. That is what makes them leaders. I love that we have Rand Paul and Ted Cruz because they are both dynamic imho and having two such candidates (possibly more if Mr. Walker jumps into this eventually) drags the debate to the right.


26 posted on 03/12/2014 7:14:00 AM PDT by FlipWilson
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To: Theodore R.

You are spot on...Ron Paul wrote a scathing letter attacking Reagan. Rand is NO Reagan and I really wonder how sincere he is in his praise.
I do not trust Rand Paul and won’t vote for him


27 posted on 03/12/2014 7:14:27 AM PDT by katiedidit1
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To: GOPsterinMA
There will never be another RR, period. Besides the sheer impossibility of replacing the person, this country is very, very different than it was in 1980 or 1984. And by different, not different in a good way.

You make a very cogent point. Would Reagan win in 2016? That would be very much in doubt. But there's no doubt that he would be needed more than ever.

28 posted on 03/12/2014 7:18:26 AM PDT by luvbach1 (We are finished)
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To: SeekAndFind
I love Reagan as much as anybody else, but there will never be another Reagan. In part because the legacy we revere, at least economically, is part myth (IMHO, see below), and in part because Reagan was much more of a political compromiser than would be tolerated today. Reagan's chief legacy IMHO was that he restored American's faith in America, he ended the post-Vietnam era and reasserted American strength around the world, and he helped to bring about the downfall of the USSR.

I was a big believer in the "Reagan Miracle" of 30 years of economic expansion brought about by government and tax reform until I really started thinking about the credit bubble that popped in 2008. I think, after looking at charts like the one below, that the economic expansion was primarily fueled by expanding credit.

I hope no one thinks I'm trashing President Reagan. I'm not. I'm of the opinion that we've borrowed much of our economic prosperity.

29 posted on 03/12/2014 7:18:45 AM PDT by Jack of all Trades (Hold your face to the light, even though for the moment you do not see.)
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To: katiedidit1

Of the two libertarian leaning conservatives, Ted Cruz is the better choice. He is a better orator by far than Rand Paul. Cruz’s Cuban heritage will not hurt him and probably help in South Florida.


30 posted on 03/12/2014 7:21:13 AM PDT by Wallace T.
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To: luvbach1

Thank you. Your points are spot on. I don’t know either, but he is needed more than ever.


31 posted on 03/12/2014 7:23:39 AM PDT by GOPsterinMA (You're a very weird person, Yossarian.)
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To: Democrat_media

Unfortunately Cankles is tying up the line!


32 posted on 03/12/2014 7:25:31 AM PDT by ObozoMustGo2012
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To: ObozoMustGo2012

LOL. that’s a good one. thanks for the laugh

cankles = democrat hillary clinton the socialist cretin


33 posted on 03/12/2014 7:31:11 AM PDT by Democrat_media (Obama ordered IRS to rig 2012 election and must resign)
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To: SeekAndFind

Our current crop of Republicans have voted time and time again to cut the military (2009, 2012, and Sequestration in 2013).

They have abandoned a strong defense.

Ronald Reagan was for the military, and there was never any doubt about that. Our enemies knew it. Our military knew it. The American people knew it.

I don't see Rand Paul or Ted Cruz coming anywhere CLOSE to where Reagan was on Defense. All I see is a head in the sand approach to the world and a weakened US military.

34 posted on 03/12/2014 7:44:13 AM PDT by SkyPilot
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To: pgkdan

Lol, I’ll match my anti McCain credentials up side yours anytime. Can’t stand the guy.

That said, Sarah puts “loyalty” at the top on her”character” list. Until McCain is proven in a court of law to have been a traitor to his country, Sarah will continue to be loyal to him as she should. She owes everything she has to his one phone call to her back in 08.

Most of us understand that and love/admire Sarah. Obviously you don’t, on both counts, which is your prerogative.


35 posted on 03/12/2014 7:44:38 AM PDT by Cen-Tejas (it's the debt bomb stupid!)
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To: SeekAndFind

Sometimes it seems Jonah can’t help but want to be in the Big Boys MSM Club.

Ain’t no fight between Rand and Cruz, even though the dem’s MSM and shite stirrers wish so.


36 posted on 03/12/2014 7:56:02 AM PDT by X-spurt (CRUZ missile - armed and ready.)
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To: Democrat_media

He’s not the only Poster who may really like Sarah, but wish she would forget Juan McLame. Anytime she says anything positive about the old SOB she poops in her nest.

I don’t thing she seriously cares about being in the POTUS hotseat, especially with all the turds in the well from nobama to clean up. Whoever we get in 16 is going to catch negative press on a Biblical scale.


37 posted on 03/12/2014 8:05:56 AM PDT by X-spurt (CRUZ missile - armed and ready.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Allies, but also competitors — much like players in spring training who are fighting for the same roster spot.


38 posted on 03/12/2014 9:14:11 AM PDT by TBP (Obama lies, Granny dies.)
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To: Josh Painter

Or Harry Browne’s.


39 posted on 03/31/2014 1:30:43 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (I will raise $2M for Cruz and/or Palin's next run, what will you do?)
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