I've said this before and I'm going to keep saying it until it becomes the theme of every story that so much as touches on the antics of Sen. Rand Paul: Rand Paul is a contrarian opportunist. That's his schtick. Whatever anyone else has got, Sen. Rand Paul will come up with a reason why he's against it, and if you stumble into agreement with something Rand Paul previously believed then Rand Paul will declare that now he's against that thing and the nation will unravel if people like you support it. All of this is constant, cynical experimentation by Paul as he tries his hand at creating the latest Viral Fundraising Moment, some brief moment in time when equally contrarian Americans see Paul saying something and are willing to reward his gadfly nature with five American dollars. Possibly 10, if Paul can wedge the word "filibuster" in there somewhere.
Right now the nation's attention is focused on Russia's military attack on Ukraine, so that is where Rand Paul's own attention lies. Rand Paul is vaguely aware that under Donald Trump, Republicanism drifted from perennial hawkishness to international nihilism, a new belief that America owes nothing to anybody and even our closest allies are treating us like "suckers." Rand Paul has inherited a mailing list of longtime conspiracy cranks, more than a few of them raging racists, thanks to his father's long career as contrarian opportunist. And Rand Paul is quite certain that the Trumpian wing of Republicanism likes Vladimir Putin, does not like Vladimir Putin's enemies, and that Ukraine is bad because they wouldn't turn over Hunter Biden's secret DNC server holding Italian satellite-controlled Jewish Space Laser data even though Donald Trump asked them super nicely to do that.
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And that is how we get this. Keep in mind: Rand Paul is a contrarian opportunist. He does not have principles; he merely puts on little one-man plays to see what reactions might net him the most fundraising cash.
If you watch that whole clip you'll notice a few little details, like Paul having to correct himself after saying "Russia" to say "Soviet Union," and most notably Paul's determination to not take full ownership of the argument he himself is making. Paul's anti-NATO stance is one he's actually stuck to for a while now, since it plays exceptionally well with a base forever worried about things like the United Nations coming to indoctrinate your kids or NATO being a secret conspiracy aimed at creating a "one world government." It's also gotten him, like numerous other House and Senate Republicans, in some tight spots as he ends up regularly being one of the American lawmakers that "coincidentally" keeps landing on the same talking points Putin's allies are trying to sell in any given moment of time.
But Paul is arguing that the United States shouldn't respond to a new war of conquest because the authoritarian government doing the conquesting is, after all, focusing its campaign on annexing territories that fled from their rule after their last authoritarian government ended in crisis and collapse, which is ... a very odd argument! And one that, according to Rand Paul himself, he's, uh, not making! Unless you like it, in which case he is! He'll look at the Internets later and decide which parts to run with.
I dunno, senator. This sounds a bit like if you called the police because your neighbor got tired of you talking smack, jumped the fence and broke a few of your ribs, then when the police came they just looked at you and said, "This guy has owned the property next door for an awful long time, so we can kind of see where he's coming from on this."
And, scene. Once again Rand Paul has used one of the most critical issues of the day to Rand Paul-up a Senate hearing with Rand Paulisms that none of us are going to remember a few weeks from now, but which he'll use for a new fundraising drive just as soon as his staff can clip the footage. (For the record, as I write this Paul's Twitter feed still consists mostly of anti-mask statements, including one that claims masks to be "ineffective" and another claiming he has been "vindicated" by a far-right judge deciding that nobody's gotta wear masks on planes anymore because FrEEdOmZ.)
Contrarian opportunism: A political tactic in which you claim to have a grievance with absolutely everything anyone else says, use that ostensible disagreement to tie up government in such a way that practically requires reporters to flock to him to have him speechify, you solicit donations based on the publicity, and then move on to the next thing. Sometimes it does require you to get rather close to Putin's own theories that Russia is justified in invading any nation that Russians have ever had historic claims on, so it requires more courage—or at least fewer principles—than you might think.