Notable mainly in that Rand Paul, out of the entire GOP field, stands outside the norm in terms of Republican foreign policy, so he sits in a class by himself. It was only a matter of time for his opponents to begin making it an issue and force him on the defensive in a primary where interventionist foreign policy typically wins the day.
Report from Politico:
A majority of early-state insiders believe it’s helpful for Rand Paul to differentiate himself from the Republican field through his views on foreign policy and national security. But over the course of the campaign, many say, those same positions will prove to be a serious liability.
This week’s survey of the POLITICO Caucus — a bipartisan group of the most influential operatives and activists in Iowa and New Hampshire — found that 61 percent of those polled overall said that the Kentucky senator’s anti-interventionist and libertarian-oriented positions are helping to distinguish him in a pack of nearly 20 candidates.
Yet that number dropped to 48 percent among just Republican respondents.
In a reflection of the ideological distinctions between the Republican parties in New Hampshire and Iowa, New Hampshire Republicans were more inclined to look favorably on Paul’s “odd-man-out” status than Iowa Republicans: Sixty percent of Granite Staters who responded said it’s helpful to break with the party; while only 37 percent of Hawkeye State Republicans said the same. In both states, many insiders said Paul’s stances likely preclude him from being the GOP nominee.
“It helps him stand out, but it also puts a low ceiling on his support. Not enough to win the nomination,” said a New Hampshire Republican, who like all members of the POLITICO Caucus was granted anonymity in order to speak freely.
I think a good way to sum it up is that Paul’s libertarian-leaning views may be his greatest asset, and his greatest weakness at the same time. True, he will bring in a different slice of voters, but to do so, he’s got to make it through a primary of typically conservative Republicans who often look down on libertarian foreign policy views as “isolationist.”
Couple this with Paul’s latest statements about the rise of the Islamic State, and you’ve got an opening for his GOP primary opponents. Story from Yahoo News:
Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul is blaming his own party for the rise of the Islamic State group.
The freshman senator from Kentucky said Wednesday that the GOP’s foreign policy hawks “created these people.”
The Islamic State group, commonly referred to as ISIS, has seized one-third of Iraq and Syria and in recent days made gains in central Iraq.
“ISIS exists and grew stronger because of the hawks in our party who gave arms indiscriminately,” Paul said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” He continued: “They created these people. ISIS is all over Libya because these same hawks in my party loved — they loved Hillary Clinton’s war in Libya. They just wanted more of it.”
He’s already taking fire for these comments, especially since he’s blaming his own party and many of his opponents supported the policies which Paul is speaking against.