If there is one thing I’ve learned in covering politics these many years, it’s that Senator John McCain (R-AZ) does not like conservatives … especially when it comes to foreign policy issues. For the McCain cabal (think Lindsey Graham and other neocons), there is only one way to proceed on foreign policy, and that is aggressively. However, over the last 30 years or so we’ve all watched as neocon foreign policy has failed time after time after time, and everyone has noticed. Not only have neocon foreign policies failed, a big chunk of the Democrat Party has fully embraced them. Over and over again, everyone who ran against Hillary Clinton noted that she had essentially the same foreign policy as George W. Bush and Barack Obama. This was one of the things that so separated Clinton from GOP candidate Donald Trump, who on the campaign trail, routinely mocked the foreign policy failures of Bush, Obama, and Clinton.
Today, a large contingent of conservative and libertarian Republicans oppose McCain driven neocon policies and the Senator doesn’t much like it. In an interview on Friday, McCain said that he doesn’t “pay attention” to what Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) says, and then he added that Paul has no “influence” in the Senate.
Wolf Blitzer: Not the first time. I’ll read to you the statement that he released. “While we all condemn the atrocities in Syria, the United States was not attacked. The president needs congressional authorization for military action as required by the constitution, and I call on him to come to congress for a proper debate. Our prior interventions in this region have done nothing to make us safer and Syria will be no different.” Your reaction?
John McCain: I don’t really react to Senator Paul. We’re just too different, and he doesn’t have any real influence in the United States Senate.
Wolf Blitzer: But he’s not alone there. There’s other senators and members of the House who agree with him…
John McCain: That’s fine.
Wolf Blitzer: — that the president needs that kind of —
John McCain: I’ll be glad to discuss that issue with the people as I have for years.
Wolf Blitzer: You don’t even want to respond to that?
John McCain: Pardon me. I don’t pay any attention frankly to what Senator Paul says.
Wolf Blitzer: Tell me why you disagree with him?
John McCain: Because he’s wrong.
Wolf Blitzer: Just on this issue or a whole bunch of other issues?
John McCain: Every other issue that I know of that has to do with national security.
Wolf Blitzer: His argument, and those who are like him in the house and the senate, they say, “Look at the disaster that’s unfolded, for example, in Libya. The U.S. launched tomahawk cruise missiles to try to get rid of Gadhafi, and it’s a failed state now. ISIS has a big chunk of Libya.
John McCain: Sure.
Wolf Blitzer: And they go back to the war to get rid of Saddam Hussein who was a very bad guy, as we all know, but look at the disaster over these years in Iraq.
John McCain: I’ll be glad to take a trip down memory lane with you.
Wolf Blitzer: And then what — and the point, though — the point that they’re making is the United States should simply stay out of these areas. It’s going to be a disaster. That’s the point they make.
On Saturday, Senator Paul also appeared on CNN and he responded to McCain’s criticisms.
“Anybody who wants to talk to Putin about a political settlement and helping Assad go away, anybody who wants to talk about that, myself include, will be called by the McCains of this world a friend of Vladimir Putin. So, as long as we have that kind of stupidity involved in the debate it makes it very hard to get to what President Obama said and what many other thinking people said that the answer in Syria is ultimately a political solution,” Paul told CNN host Michael Smerconish.
You can watch the whole interview below: