Is Ron Paul Left Of Obama, Or A Throwback To Ike?

GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul's antiwar stand is considered so out of sync with his party that rival Rick Santorum put him in league with liberal Democrat Dennis Kucinich, to the left of President Obama.

But to his supporters, Paul is returning the GOP to its cautious foreign policy roots, articulated in President Dwight Eisenhower's 1961 warning about "the military-industrial complex."

In their view, the Republican Party lost its way starting with the Reagan military build-up in the 1980s and reaching a crescendo with former President George W. Bush's invasion of Iraq in 2003.

For some voters who once supported Sen. John McCain and George W. Bush, the small-government, antiwar message from Paul, a 76-year-old candidate who critics say looks like he could be feeding pigeons, is compelling.

Establishment Republicans give Paul zero chance of winning the GOP nomination, but the party's neoconservative wing is alarmed enough about his message that former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson accused Paul's supporters of trying to "erase 158 years of Republican Party history," including Abraham Lincoln.

"He really is not resonating with establishment Republicans," who consider Paul's opposition to sanctions on Iran as "extremely dangerous," said GOP analyst Ford O'Connell.

Still, polls show Paul headed for a second-place finish in the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday, behind Mitt Romney, boosted by the state's open primary that allows independents to vote. Paul doubled his showing in Iowa from four years ago, capturing 21 percent of the vote there on Tuesday.

Read more from Carolyn Lochhead at the San Francisco Chronicle 

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published this page in In The News 2012-01-06 09:00:00 -0500
Analysis & Political Strategy