Rand Paul preposterously likens himself to Dwight Eisenhower
Sen. Rand Paul, the Kentucky Republican, has never distinguished himself as a keen student of American history.
Not long ago, for example, he tried to sell a group of black college kids a distorted account of the Democratic and Republican parties’ respective records on civil rights (see HERE).
And then, just this week, Paul flatteringly compared himself with the 34th president of the United States.
Glenn Kessler, the fact-checker for the Washington Post, has awarded Paul four Pinocchios for peddling such bunkum, as we see HERE:
It is important to learn the lessons of history. But what if the history you know is not really the history that happened?
We wondered about this as we read Sen. Rand Paul’s speech this week to the Veterans of Foreign Wars…Paul repeatedly referenced Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th president, as a model for Paul’s argument for a foreign policy that drastically cuts foreign aid and minimalizes overseas entanglements…
As a military man, Eisenhower had no particular political leanings, but he ultimately declared himself as a Republican before the 1952 election. His main rival — up until the GOP convention — was Sen. Robert Taft of Ohio, known as “Mr. Republican.” Taft, in fact, in many ways would appear to be more of a model for Paul. Taft was a strict non-interventionist who opposed any involvement in World War II until the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He was a skeptic of NATO and opposed sending U.S. soldiers to conflicts in Asia.
Some historians believe Eisenhower was motivated to become a Republican partly to thwart Taft’s foreign policy views from dominating the GOP; certainly Republicans who disliked Taft’s foreign policy views worked hard for Eisenhower. A sympathetic review of Taft’s foreign policy, “The Republican Road Not Taken,” by Colgate University Professor Michael T. Hayes, argues that “Eisenhower embraced and continued these internationalist Democratic policies [of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman] during his two terms in office.”
Okay, but what about foreign aid? Here again, Rand has it totally backwards.
In a study of Eisenhower’s foreign aid policies, American University Professor Jordan Tama wrote: “Foreign aid was central to Eisenhower’s grand strategy, and he considered it to be a top presidential priority.”
As Tama documents, Eisenhower, while a fiscal conservative who sought to cut overall government spending, battled Congress repeatedly to boost foreign aid because he believed it was less expensive in the long run. Initially, Eisenhower focused on military and budgetary support for other nations, but in his second term, he pushed for large increases in economic development aid.
“Eisenhower believed that the United States could get more bang for its buck in the effort to contain communism by helping to boost the capacity of other countries than by using the money for any other purpose,” Tama wrote…
We asked Tama what Eisenhower would think of Paul’s foreign policy views, and here’s how he responded:
Eisenhower would disagree vehemently with Paul on foreign aid. As president, Eisenhower often told members of Congress that if budget cuts needed to be made, cuts in any other category of spending would be wiser than cuts to foreign aid. Eisenhower favored substantial aid both to allies and to nonaligned countries in the Cold War. He would see aid to Pakistan and Egypt as a way to bolster America’s standing in those countries and make it more likely that they would side with the United States on important issues in the future.