Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) sounded an alarm about some of the Republicans joining him in Congress next year, warning that they could affect the consensus on the war in Afghanistan and might pose challenges to free trade agreements and the defense budget.
"Rand Paul, he's already talked about withdrawals, cuts in defense," said McCain. "I worry a lot about rise of protectionism and isolationism in the Republican Party."
McCain was speaking at a conference sponsored by the Foreign Policy Initiative, set up in 2009, and focused from the beginning of keeping politics out of the Afghanistan War and keeping the president and Congress focused on delivering whatever commanders asked for in the war. McCain spent a little time on President Obama's comments, reported by Bob Woodward, that he couldn't afford to lose his party on the issue. That, he said, was not how presidents should think about war. But he gave the impression that the new class of Republicans, elected with plenty of rhetoric about budget cuts, needed to be pointed in the right direction.
"The earmarks are important," said McCain. "We cut out those earmarks, we can save billions."