Senator Paul Lays Out Foreign Policy Principles

Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky has some libertarian leanings. But since he’s frequently considered a Republican Presidential, he aspirant needs to walk a fine line in many policy discussions. He must remain true to his brand of conservatism without alienating too many skeptics within his own party—in fact, he must do all that he can to shore up support. In his latest opinion piece on how he would respond to the ISIS threat, he tries to strike a balance between the hawks and isolationists whose support he must cultivate. “Some pundits are surprised that I support destroying the Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) militarily. They shouldn’t be. I’ve said since I began public life that I am not an isolationist, nor am I an interventionist. I look at the world, and consider war, realistically and constitutionally”, he writes for Time. Although he is skeptical of the value of foreign entanglements, he says, “I do support intervention when our vital interests are threatened.” He also notes that he would have summoned Congress back to Washington for its authorization. “Any strategy, though, should be presented to the American people through Congress. If war is necessary, we should act as a nation. We should do so properly and constitutionally and with a real strategy and a plan for both victory and exit”, Senator Paul writes.

Time: Rand Paul: “I Am Not an Isolationist”

Analysis: Republicans Have Electoral Edge, But No Wave

Last week, a number of pundits were wondering whether the midterm elections would result in a wave sweeping the Republicans in to power in the Senate. The ever-to-be-read analyst Charlie Cook provided his take on Friday, saying that it does not look like there’s a wave coming. “Now that Labor Day is behind us, the most remarkable thing about this midterm election is how little has changed since Memorial Day”, he writes. One of the most endangered Democrats did drop out of his race, but since he was likely going to lose, “that doesn’t amount to a major development in [Cook’s] book”. Furthermore, he says there are seven toss-up seats that are held by Democrats, and only one of them “has seen any real change over time”. Other than that, the most striking story is that of the Democratic candidate in Kansas attempting to drop out, leaving the possibility of an independent candidate knocking off a Republican. All that being said, Cook is not afraid to suggest that the odds are on the Republicans winning. “That leaves no fewer than nine very close races, at least half of them headed toward photo finishes. But three Democratic-held seats are already gone, and party strategists see seven more teetering on the edge, compared with just two for Republicans. Given that equation, you’d have to bet on the GOP”, he writes.

National Journal: The Non-Wave Election

Some Senate Democrats Balk at Immigration Executive Action Push

Earlier this year, President Barack Obama famously suggested that he would make changes to immigration policy via Executive actions if Congress did not pass a bill by the end of the summer. With summer come and gone, it is a virtual guarantee that the legislature will not pass a bill before they adjourn for the fall elections. Members of his base are pressing him to issue Executive actions, but those from another key constituency—some Senate Democrats—are urging him to hold off for now. Senator Bill Nelson of Florida is not opposed to the use of Executive actions, but would have the President do so after the elections. Senator Al Franken of Minnesota said “This is a job for Congress, and it’s time for the House to act.” Senator Angus King, the Maine Independent who caucuses with the Democrats, told Politico, “I would oppose a unilateral action of a significant nature on immigration reform both on constitutional grounds and policy grounds”. A number of Democrats facing stiff competition for the Senate have already come out against the President unilaterally making immigration reforms. With conflicting opinions in his party, the President has a difficult political calculation to make: Will major Executive actions endanger Senate Democrats in tight races and contribute to the party’s loss of the Chamber? Or will failure to act alienate a large section of the Party’s supporters—which also might harm other Senate candidates?

Politico: More Senate Democrats Urge Obama to Delay Immigration Order

ISIS Congressional Briefings Set

Secretary of State John Kerry and top-level intelligence officers are slated to provide Members of Congress and staff additional information about the terrorist group Islamic State (IS, also ISIS or ISIL). Secretary Kerry will appear before the House Foreign Affairs Committee sometime during the week of September 15. Staffers were slated to have a briefing by intelligence and counterterrorism officials on Friday, September 5. Secretary Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel have been at a NATO summit in Wales this week, attempting to secure support from foreign nations to defeat IS. They have courted officials from the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, Canada, France and others. Secretary Kerry conceded that not all countries could or would “do kinetic”—active participation in military attacks—but still hopes that “everybody can do something.”

Reuters: Obama Administration Sets Briefings for Congress on Islamic State

Politico: U.S. Identifies Coalitions Against ISIL

And for our latest post: Perry’s Veto Case: A New–and Potentially Dangerous–Form of Judicial Review?