Ron Paul soft spot emerges: Foreign policy
Ron Paul supporters don’t seem troubled by his non-interventionist stance. | AP Photo
DES MOINES — Scary. Not serious. To the left of Barack Obama. A threat to the existence of Israel.
So far though, the voters flocking to his events don’t seem especially troubled by Paul’s noninterventionist stance or his take on Iran, Iraq or Sept. 11.Paul outlines his foreign policy
Even the military veterans who attended Paul’s Salute to Veterans Rally at the Iowa State Fairgrounds Wednesday embraced Paul’s views. “He’s fully behind national defense,” said state Rep. Glen Massie, a Marine Corps veteran and Paul supporter, after the event. “Militarism is another animal.”
For Paul, it’s a validation of his core message about government overspending, debt and the heavy cost of overseas entanglements.
There’s one big problem: The forces powering his rise in Iowa are incompatible with the path to the GOP nomination.
The anti-war stance, the sharp criticism of the war on terrorism, the calls to rein in military spending — all of it is fueling Paul’s support among the young voters who throng his events, and among independents and Democrats.
In a historically dovish state, with a crowded contest uniquely suited to a candidate with a fervent base of support, it’s a model that can work. But beyond Iowa’s borders, in a hawkish party that has traditionally embraced a muscular military role and recently criticized President Barack Obama for his alleged timidity, it’s a different story.
Paul’s vote against the use of military force against Iraq, his position on military action against Iran, his calls to bring home troops from Germany, South Korea and Japan put him in a distinct minority in the GOP. And there’s no reconciling his positions as he moves forward. If he dials back his anti-war, noninterventionist stance and moves toward the center of his party, he risks losing his base. If he doesn’t, once the field narrows he can’t win enough support to claim the nomination.
In any case, Paul has made moves that shore up his credentials against claims that his views on national security and foreign policy represent a radical or dangerous departure from the mainstream. At the veterans event in Des Moines, a projection screen featured a photo of him in military uniform alongside a graphic noting that “Ron Paul has raised more funds from active military personnel than all other GOP competitors combined.”