J.C. Watts: Rand Not ‘Afraid’ To Do More Than ‘Typical Conservative Issues’

Former Congressman J.C. Watts (R-OK) praised Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) for talking about policy areas that are not “typical conservative issues” and “most conservatives would be afraid of getting voted off the island” for discussing on Monday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “Hardball.”

Watts stated that Rand “obviously has some libertarian leanings, but I think he has the right perspective, and I think he wants to do the right thing. And over the last two and a half years that I’ve been talking to him, that I’ve had his ear, I think he’s wanted to learn. And I think the things that he’s done, he’s not just taken on just your typical conservative issues on the social side and on the economic side, but he’s gone much further than that, and he’s gone into nontraditional constituencies. I think he’s tried to be very consistent in striking up a dialogue with those nontraditional constituencies. And I think that’s what we need. You know, post-Jack Kemp, I’ve been looking for somebody that would offer up himself or herself to have this type of dialogue with more than a narrow constituency.”

Watts continued, “he’s talked about things in the last four years that most conservatives would be afraid of getting voted off the island if they were talking about those type of things. And obviously he’s made some mistakes. He’s evolving, but I think he is honestly — he has honestly made the case to me that, ‘J.C., I want to have the right perspective, I want to learn, I want to go to the next — take the country to the next level in so many areas. And, Chris, we’re so focused on the 30,000-foot level on so many of these issues, that we don’t get down to that 300-foot level and have a dialogue, have a conversation, have deeper relationships, and I honestly think that he wants to do that.”

Asked about Rand’s foreign policy, Watts said “my conversations with him, I don’t think there’s any question that his philosophy in terms of war is, you know, if we’re fighting a war, we win, they lose. That’s the bottom line. However, I think he hasn’t taken on a demeanor that says, ‘let’s shoot and then aim.’ And I think most people agree with that. And I think this ISIS thing is getting crazy, it’s getting more crazy by the day, and Kenya, and Nigeria, and all over the Middle East, and it’s something that we certainly need to be concerned about, and I think he is, but the fact that he said, you know, as John Kennedy would say, you know, ‘never, never, never fear to negotiate, but never negotiate out of fear.’ So, I do think that — now, he’s going to have to make that case to the American people because you’ve got many people trying to frame who he is, or what he believes in terms of our national security, but, again, I think his philosophy, no question, is if we’re going to do it, let’s do it the right way. We win, they lose.”

During the interview, host Chris Matthews said that he likes Rand because “he’s not a hawk, he’s not a neocon, he’s not somebody who always wants to take us back to the Middle East for the latest country we have to go to war with. He seems like a guy who has restraint in the use of military [force], just like he has restraint in the use of big government.”

(h/t Real Clear Politics)

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