Is it 2016 already?
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) launched a fresh volley Monday against Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) in a growing foreign policy feud between the two potential presidential hopefuls. Paul responded to Perry’s biting Washington Post op-ed with an equally punishing piece in Politico Magazine, casting the Texas governor as “stuck in the past” when it comes to finding a solution to the current crisis in Iraq and even taking a personal dig at the governor’s new glasses.
“Perry says there are no good options. I’ve said the same thing,” he wrote. “President Obama has said the same thing. So what are Perry’s solutions and why does he think they are so bold and different than anyone else’s?”
The Kentucky Republican argued the suggestions Perry had laid out for assisting the Iraqi government in combating Islamist militants were nothing new. The U.S. was already providing intelligence sharing and surveillance, he wrote, and President Barack Obama has said he may use airstrikes down the road. Paul said he remains open to the possibility of using airstrikes, too.
Paul also pointed out that Perry previously advocated sending troops back into Iraq, a move that a majority of Americans reject. If Perry was going to brand Paul an “isolationist” for speaking out against putting boots on the ground, the senator wrote, then the governor was slapping that label on the entire country.
“If refusing to send Americans to die for a country that refuses to defend itself makes one an ‘isolationist,’ then perhaps its time we finally retire that pejorative,” he wrote.
Overall, Paul argued that Perry wrote “a fictionalized account” of his foreign policy views. The Kentucky senator insisted that Perry mischaracterized his policy proposals as ignorant of the threat of the Islamic State poses to U.S. national security.
“There are many things I like about Texas Gov. Rick Perry, including his stance on the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution,” he wrote. “But apparently his new glasses haven’t altered his perception of the world, or allowed him to see it any more clearly.”
This post has been updated.