When it comes to dealing with ISIS, the militant Islamic group intent on taking over Iraq, there’s a rift within the Republican party — and nowhere is the divide more glaring than in dueling op-eds published by Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.
First, Perry ripped Paul in a scathing Washington Post op-ed published Friday. Perry’s critique was as pointed as it was blunt, calling Paul out by name and suggesting that Paul’s “isolationist” position (advocating against re-engagement in Iraq) “compounds the threat of terrorism.”
Not to be outdone, Paul fired back in an op-ed published in Politico Magazine today, labeling Perry’s critique “bombast” — and jeering at Perry’s studious new glasses.
The exchange was reminiscent of Paul and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s fiery feud earlier this year, not only in its intensity, but because once again, both combatants are likely 2016 hopefuls.
In case you missed it, here’s are the best nuggets of the Perry/Paul tirades:
Perry: ”It’s disheartening to hear fellow Republicans, such as Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.), suggest that our nation should ignore what’s happening in Iraq. … [ISIS] represents a real threat to our national security — to which Paul seems curiously blind.”
Paul: ”There are many things I like about Texas Gov. Rick Perry. … But apparently his new glasses haven’t altered his perception of the world, or allowed him to see it any more clearly.”
Perry: ”Reagan identified Soviet communism as an existential threat to our national security and Western values, and he confronted this threat in every theater. … At the time, though, there were those who said that Reagan’s policies would push the Soviets to war. These voices instead promoted accommodation and timidity in the face of Soviet advancement as the surest path to peace. This, sadly, is the same policy of inaction that Paul advocates today. … Paul is drawing his own red line along the water’s edge, creating a giant moat where superpowers can retire from the world.”
Paul: ”If the governor continues to insist that these proposals mean I’m somehow ‘ignoring ISIS,’ I’ll make it my personal policy to ignore Rick Perry’s opinions.”
Perry: ”In the face of the advancement of the Islamic State, Paul and others suggest the best approach to this 21st-century threat is to do next to nothing. I personally don’t believe in a wait-and-see foreign policy for the United States.”
Paul: ”Tough talk like Perry’s might inspire some for the moment, but when bombast becomes policy it can have long and disastrous consequences. … On foreign policy, Perry couldn’t be more stuck in the past, doubling down on formulas that haven’t worked, parroting rhetoric that doesn’t make sense and reinforcing petulant attitudes that have cost our nation a great deal.”