In his questioning of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton regarding the attack in the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, Senator Rand Paul said: had I been President at the time and I found that you did not read the cables from Benghazi, you did not read the cables from Ambassador Stevens [regarding security concerns] I would have relieved you of your duties. I doubt it.
Rand Paul is a political zealot. Rand Paul is committed, above all, to his political ideas. He is not merely an obstreperous jerk (as some liberals unfairly claim), but is committed to his ideals because he honest believes that they are right. He believes that his views of politics and economics are correct, and if followed will cure many of the nations ills. His zealotry is pure, so I cannot fault him for it. I do not think, and would never claim, that he is self-serving or power-hungry. I do not believe that he is in any way. But he is absolutely, positively, completely convinced that his philosophical, economic and political beliefs are correct. And he is burning with passion to impose those views, and the policies that emanate therefrom, onto his nation. And he does this because he honestly believes that those policies will solve many of the nations problems. This, then, is a deeply committed partisan ideologue, which in common parlance is known as a zealot.
And like most zealots his loyalty is to his beliefs, and as a result, his personal loyalties are to those who share his beliefs. This is because the only way to achieve the desired political goals is with staunch and unwavering political allies.
And so, if Paul was president (a future scenario that is extremely unlikely) and he had a Secretary of State who was a political ally, and that Secretary of State did something objectionable (like ignore security warnings), I doubt seriously that imaginary future president Paul would relieve that person of his duties. I believe that imaginary future president Paul would fervently defend his friend and ally against scurrilous accusations.
I think that we have some recent history that supports this contention. Did President Bush relieve his national security adviser (Condoleezza Rice) when she ignored national security advisories in the summer of 2001 that said that Osama bin Laden was planning attacks in the United States? No. Did President Bush relieve his Secretary of Defense when it proved that he had completely failed to plan for the post invasion occupation of Iraq? No again.
In both cases political loyalty and ideological compatibility trumped competence. I have little doubt that the same policy will hold true in the imaginary future presidency of Rand Paul.