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jct74
12-13-2016, 06:04 PM
Rand Paul Has a Lesson for Democrats on Opposing Hawks and Holding Trump to Account: Just Say ‘No’
The Republican senator says he would be “an automatic no on Bolton,” which is absolutely the right response.

By John Nichols
December 13, 2016

If Donald Trump nominates John Bolton or some other regime-change preaching hyper-hawk to a top State Department post, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul will have a word for the president-elect and his pick: “No.”

Asked on ABC’s This Week about how he would respond to Trump’s selection of the former ambassador to the United Nations to serve as the number-two authority in the State Department, the Republican member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee declared himself to be “an automatic no on Bolton”—arguing that “he should get nowhere close to the State Department.”

The 2016 Republican presidential contender is unwilling to defer to the president-elect when it comes to nominations that could define how the United States responds to questions of war and peace.

His hard-line stance is the necessary one. And it is more than just a rhetorical flourish or a simple point of principle. The Foreign Relations Committee is closely divided between Senate Republicans and Democrats—and if Paul aligns with Democrats in opposition to Trump picks, the balance could shift against a hawkish nominee.

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read more:
https://www.thenation.com/article/rand-paul-has-a-lesson-for-democrats-on-opposing-hawks-and-holding-trump-to-account-just-say-no/

jct74
12-13-2016, 06:12 PM
The GOP’s Russia Hawks Are Not Your Friends, Democrats
Sure, John McCain and Lindsey Graham talk tough about Trump, but there’s good reason not to trust them.

By Jim Newell
DEC. 13 2016

The Democratic Party is on the hunt for Russkies. It’s a sensible reflex after an election in which Russia, according to the intelligence community, hacked and leaked Democratic emails to improve Trump’s electoral chances. It deserves an investigation and a diplomatic response. What we do not need, though, is Democrats running into the flexed arms of Sens. Lindsey Graham and John McCain.

Democrats, these are not your foreign policy friends.

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The temptation is strong for Democrats to join with the GOP’s Russia hawks, because the numbers add up. On foreign policy issues, the Senate Democratic caucus plus Graham, McCain, and the similarly hawkish Marco Rubio add up to 51 votes—enough to stifle Trump appointees in the post-filibuster era. This is the coalition that could theoretically block Rex Tillerson’s appointment to the State Department on the basis of Tillerson’s business and personal ties to Russia. McCain, Graham, and Rubio have all expressed concerns over Tillerson’s relationship with Putin.

This may be the fight McCain, Graham, and Rubio want to pick. But is it the foreign policy fight Democrats want to pick?

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Bolton is expected to be Trump’s pick for second-in-command at the State Department—if he wins confirmation. If his selection is finalized, forget about Tillerson or the waiver for “The Mad Dog” or whatever. Stopping Bolton—who on Monday suggested aloud that the Russian hacks may have been an Obama administration false-flag operation—should become the top priority. He is a madman whose only wish is to bomb Iran into oblivion. He is anti-diplomacy personified.

McCain and Graham love John Bolton. McCain gave Bolton a rousing endorsement during his 2005 nomination to serve as U.N. ambassador, a position for which Bolton could not be confirmed and was later installed via recess appointment; Bolton, meanwhile, supported McCain for re-election earlier this year. Graham, in late November, declared himself a “big John Bolton fan.”

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There is an ally to be had on that side of the aisle—a GOP senator who’s not just toying with the idea of rejecting Bolton, but who has already rejected him. Sen. Rand Paul has said that he will be an “automatic no” on Bolton for any job to which he’s nominated. “If he were to be the assistant or the undersecretary for Tillerson,” Paul said over the weekend, “I’m an out automatic no on Bolton. He should get nowhere close to the State Department if anybody with the same worldview is in charge.” On Tillerson, he would keep an open mind. “I don’t know that yet,” he said. “And to me the most important question is, are you an advocate for the Iraq war? Do you think that was a good idea? Do you think, regime change? Because, see, these questions keep recurring.”

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read more:
http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2016/12/john_mccain_and_lindsey_graham_are_not_your_friend s_democrats.html