Ron Paul is more than just a semi- or neo-isolationist, which describes the growing, opportunistic foreign policy mentality of most Republican presidential hopefuls. Paul is, rather, and always has been, a dependable paleo-isolationist of the America First or even the non-entangling-alliances variety, and that -- whether one subscribes to it or not -- is the singularly authentic worldview among the entire lot.
Paul means it, unlike Mitt Romney (who listens to Robert Kagan), or Rick Perry (who swoons over Donald Rumsfeld), or -- and this clown is difficult to even mention as a serious contender, which he isn't -- Herman Cain, who "has professed his admiration for the writings of John R. Bolton."
Thus writes the NYT Book Review editor and historian of contemporary conservatism Sam Tanenhaus, in what ultimately is a disappointing survey of the Republican field's encroaching, non-internationalist proclivities. He passes by Paul (for "warning that America has become an empire") in the first paragraph, only to bound to a superficial discussion of the remaining shallowists.
Again, Paul means it ... while the others? In reality they haven't an honest foreign policy notion in their silly little heads. Romney, Perry et al cater to what Tanenhaus portrays as the Tea Partiers' rejection of "aggressive interventionism"; but of course the latter, like the former, merely, reflexively oppose whatever it is that President Obama happens to be engaged in -- foreign policy- or any other-wise -- at the moment. If Obama goes interventionist, they go isolationist; if Obama retracts his claws, theirs spring out. The formula is nimble, but an intellectual fraud.
Paul, however, means what he says -- and what he says is reliable, genuine, and altogether independent of political fads. Somewhat credulously, Tanenhaus quotes an emailed statement by Lawrence Kaplan (a William Kristol co-author) that the Tea Party movement is "proof positive of the rise of isolationism on the right.... My bet is they have the federal government, not far-away Islamists, in mind." Horseshit. They have Barack Obama in mind -- rather, in their hypercritical sites. If Obama were a prophet of Paulism, Tea Partiers would be avowed Kissingerian invaders -- and Paul wouldn't bother disguising disgust with them, either.
Because, unlike the rest of this cycle's vulgar crop, Ron Paul means it.