Former Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul was not at all pleased with last week's announcement about January's deadly drone strike along the Afghan-Pakistan border. The former Texas congressman said the Americans killed in the strike "were literally assassinated."
And given his history, it's tempting to assume Ron Paul's son, Republican presidential hopeful Rand Paul, would use similar rhetoric. It was, after all, the Kentucky senator who took to the chamber floor two years ago to speak for nearly 13 hours about his deep skepticism surrounding the U.S. drone policy.
But as it turns out, Rand Paul and Ron Paul, at least publicly, are not on the same page. As Dave Weigel reported this morning, the current GOP presidential candidate made this clear on Fox News this morning.
"I do think that there is a valuable use for drones and as much as I'm seen as an opponent of drones, in military and warfare, they do have some value," Paul said [on "Fox & Friends"]. "I think this is a difficult situation. You have hostages being held; some of them are American. You have people holding hostages; some of them are American. I've been an opponent of using drones about people not in combat. However if you are holding hostages, you kind of are involved in combat. So I look at it the way it is in the United States. If there's a kidnapping in New York, the police don't have to have a warrant to go in."
Had Paul never spoken out about drones before, this would have been a newsless answer, comparable to what other Republican candidates and politicians had been saying. But Paul has a long, dramatic record of pronouncements about drones.
Though Rand Paul seemed likely to be the only Republican to go after the Obama administration's admitted mistake, the Kentucky Republican, after saying very little soon after the revelations last week, is prepared to give the president a pass.
"You really don't get due process or anything like that if you are in a war zone," Paul this morning. "I tend not to want to blame the president for the loss of life here. I think he was trying to do the right thing."
The senator's apparent "evolution" is now complete.