Cheney: Rand Paul ‘Basically an Isolationist’

by Eliana Johnson

Rand Paul is “basically an isolationist,” Dick Cheney said on Sunday.

The former vice president told ABC’s Jonathan Karl that isolationism “didn’t work in the 1930s, [and] it sure as heck won’t work in the aftermath of 9/11 when 19 guys armed with airline tickets and box cutters came all the way from Afghanistan and killed 3,000 of our citizens.”

Cheney and the Kentucky senator have been engaging in a back-and-forth all week, and that’s how Cheney dismissed the criticism of the Bush administration’s 2003 invasion of Iraq leveled by Paul in a Wall Street Journal op-ed on Friday.

In the piece, Paul argued that blaming the current chaos in Iraq on the Obama administration “ignores what President Bush did wrong.”

But Paul’s piece was itself a response to Cheney’s own Journal op-ed, which ran in Thursday’s paper. In it, Cheney and his daughter Liz, a former State Department official, pinned the chaos spreading through the Middle East around the president’s neck. “Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many,” they said.

The Cheneys last week also announced that they have founded a nonprofit group, Alliance for a Strong America, that will “advocate for the policies needed to restore American power and pre-eminence” — that is, it will try to stamp out Paulite foreign policy, which the Kentucky senator likes to call “non-interventionism,” within the Republican party.

Branding Paul an isolationist, a label he has explicitly rejected, is but the latest sally in this larger battle.

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