Rand Paul, the senator from Kentucky and son of the famous (some might say infamous) libertarian congressman, Ron Paul, seems poised to continue his father's legacy by hammering government officials much the same way Ron did to Federal Reserve chairmen throughout his own career.
The younger Paul will be grilling Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a few days, during a hearing over attacks that killed four Americans at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. He is basing his questions on Secretary Clinton's knowledge of the Libyan security situation and denied requests for additional security at the consulate. "She needs to be held accountable for it, and I think she needs to answer questions for it," he said in an interview with Business Insider.
Senator Paul, while differing from his father in some ways, still leans hard on the libertarian side of many issues. While his father's viewpoints caused many to dismiss him as a “nut,” or “kook,” others respected the integrity and consistency of his positions. Rand is still relatively new to the political scene and has so far not done much regarding his reputation, except to endorse Mitt Romney for president, to the dismay of Ron Paul supporters all over the U.S. That may have disappointed a lot of supporters, but Rand could still cement his appeal to libertarians across the country if his position on foreign policy plays out through the hearings as being similar to his father's.
Conservatives are hoping Benghazi might be a key political “gotcha” moment for the Obama administration. While this may be true, it could be much more important than that.
Rand has an opportunity to bring non-interventionist foreign policy to the public eye in a very legitimate way – by demonstrating how U.S. actions across the globe actually inflame terrorism instead of combat it. He can do this by portraying the Benghazi attacks as a direct response to U.S. foreign policy in Muslim countries, similar to how his father pointed out that the Iranian Revolution was a reaction to U.S. support for the tyrannical Iranian Shah. All he has to do is cite this as a case of “blowback,” unforeseen or unwanted effects, results, or repercussions of a particular course of action.
Non-intervention is certainly not popular, and one of the big reasons conservatives dismissed Ron Paul. Rand may earn himself a reputation similar to his father if he pursues this agenda, but it could also establish him as ideologically unshakable as dear old dad. This is what counts if Rand is to be the sole torch-bearer in Washington of the Liberty Movement and the Ron Paul R3volution.
Yes, the pundits may write him off. He might even appear to lose his mind on C-SPAN, and definitely on the sound-bite oriented network news channels, but he will also be asking the question no one is really asking, and that is whether U.S. foreign policy really benefits Americans at home and abroad, or if it truly represents them on the world stage. That is what Americans really need to know from their government, and Rand Paul is the man to figure it out.