"Apparently his new glasses haven't altered [Texas Gov. Rick Perry's] perception of the world, or allowed him to see it any more clearly," said Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) - an ophthalmologist - in a piece published today in Politico.
In response to Perry's branding him an "isolationist" in a Washington Post op-ed Friday, Paul didn't pull any punches: "There are obviously many important events going on in the world right now, but with 60,000 foreign children streaming across the Texas border, I am surprised Governor Perry has apparently still found time to mischaracterize and attack my foreign policy."
Governor Perry writes a fictionalized account of my foreign policy so mischaracterizing my views that I wonder if he's even really read any of my policy papers.
In fact, some of Perry's solutions for the current chaos in Iraq aren't much different from what I've proposed, something he fails to mention. His solutions also aren't much different from President Barack Obama's, something he also fails to mention. Because interestingly enough, there aren't that many good choices right now in dealing with this situation in Iraq.
Perry says there are no good options. I've said the same thing. President Obama has said the same thing. So what are Perry's solutions and why does he think they are so bold and different from anyone else's?....
I support continuing our assistance to the government of Iraq, which include armaments and intelligence. I support using advanced technology to prevent ISIS from becoming a threat. I also want to stop sending U.S. aid and arms to Islamic rebels in Syria who are allied with ISIS, something Perry doesn't even address. I would argue that if anything, my ideas for this crisis are both stronger, and not rooted simply in bluster.
If the governor continues to insist that these proposals mean I'm somehow "ignoring ISIS," I'll make it my personal policy to ignore Rick Perry's opinions.
Perry and Paul have been trading harsh criticisms over the weekend. Perry wrote in his Friday op-ed titled "Isolationist policies make the threat of terrorism even greater:
It's disheartening to hear fellow Republicans, such as Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.), suggest that our nation should ignore what's happening in Iraq. The main problem with this argument is that it means ignoring the profound threat that the group now calling itself the Islamic State poses to the United States and the world...
This represents a real threat to our national security - to which Paul seems curiously blind - because any of these passport carriers can simply buy a plane ticket and show up in the United States without even a visa. It's particularly chilling when you consider that one American has already carried out a suicide bombing and a terrorist-trained European allegedly killed four at the Jewish Museum in Brussels.
Yet Paul still advocates inaction...
When Buzzfeed asked Rand Paul's chief adviser Doug Stafford for comment Saturday, they received this email:
I have three points in response to Governor Perry's talking points:
1. Senator Paul believes national defense is the most important function of the Federal government
2. Gov. Perry's mischaracterization of Senator Paul's foreign policy is not based in fact and
3. Um, I forgot the third. Anyone remember the third one? ... oops!
Monday's Politico article by Paul sums up his own position on Iraq, and criticizes Perry, saying that the Texas governor "couldn't be more stuck in the past, doubling down on formulas that haven't worked, parroting rhetoric that doesn't make sense and reinforcing petulant attitudes that have cost our nation a great deal."
Paul's firing salvo? "If repeating the same mistakes over and over again is what Perry advocates in U.S. foreign policy, or any other policy, he really should run for president. In Washington, he'd fit right in..."