A few weeks back, the John McCain & Lindsey Graham roadshow made its way to Brotherhood Central in Cairo, with newcomer Kelly Ayotte in tow. Senator Ayotte appears to have filled the void created by Joe Lieberman’s retirement — after all, when you have Republicans, who needs another Democrat? The former trio is best remembered for its Tripoli triumph of late 2009, when the three kicked back in the Qaddafi compound and toasted our newly cozy relations with the dictator. The bipartisan solons then winged their way home in time to second the Obama State Department’s increase in funding for the Libyan dictator’s regime. After all, they reasoned, Qaddafi was our hedge against Libya’s jihadists. As is their wont, though, the solons soon dazzled us with a 180, suddenly deciding that what we really needed to do was back Libya’s jihadists in their war against Qaddafi. The rest, as they say in Mali, is history.
Senator Paul, by contrast, has three ideas that seem positively batty to the McCain gang. First, he thinks that American foreign policy ought to be premised on American national interests, not on the shifting notions of “global stability” popular at the Wilson School and the Council on Foreign Relations. Second, he suggests that when we give aid and arms to anti-American Islamists, bad things tend to happen to America. Finally, Paul believes the foundation of American foreign policy is, of all quaint things, the United States Constitution. The Framers gave Congress not merely the authority but the duty to thwart executive excess. On the international stage, that primarily means the power of the purse, which enables the people’s representatives to defund such madness as the arming of Islamic supremacists.