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Paul the Younger Blocks Iran Sanctions

Rand, senator from Kentucky, wants anti-war clarification attached to bill

Marc Tracy
March 28, 2012
Sen. Rand Paul earlier this month.(Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Sen. Rand Paul earlier this month.(Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

A new Iran sanctions bill hit a snag in the U.S. Senate yesterday with Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, placing a hold on it. He wants the Democratic leadership to allow him to add an amendment that clarifies that nothing in the bill “shall be construed as a declaration of war or an authorization of use of force against Iran or Syria.” Paul said on the floor, “Before sending our young men and women into combat, we should have a mature and thoughtful debate over the ramifications of war, over the advisability of war and over the objectives of war.” Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada and Majority Leader, was disappointed with Paul’s move.

The Republican primary candidacy of Rep. Ron Paul, Rand’s father, has been the dog that didn’t bark this campaign season: though he was polling first in Iowa at one point in December, after some decent showings in early contests, he never caught on; even his more muted mission of amassing enough delegates to make an impact at the convention looks Quixotic at this point.

But that’s not to suggest the Paul family is necessarily done with Republican politics. Rand is seen as much more palatable than his father, and has much more appeal among rank-and-file Republicans, particularly Tea Partiers, than his father (whose base is more independent and libertarian, and contains Democrats as well as Republicans). Yet this latest move suggests that on certain issues of concern to the organized Jewish community, the apple might not fall so far from the tree. He will be worth watching in 2016 and beyond.

Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic, and was previously a staff writer at Tablet. He tweets @marcatracy.