They say the conservative movement was build on a three-legged stool – economic, social, and foreign policy conservatism. Rand Paul’s libertarianism checks off the economic box and his pro-life, anti-gun control, anti-gay marriage stances tick off the social box.
However when it comes to foreign policy he has a problem. Much like his father, who also opposed invading Iraq and sanctions on Iran, Senator Paul is out of sync with a large portion of the GOP.
The recent announcement of a deal with Iran over nuclear weapons will highlight these differences and the tensions they cause for Paul. Some on the neo-con wing of the GOP have already started hitting Paul on this front. Jennifer Rubin says Paul is worse than Obama on Iran. Ouch. You can bet that is not what Paul wants to associated with in the minds of primary voters or caucus goers.
Rubin’s piece does highlight how issues involving Iran and Israel can be problematic for Paul. In addition to not winning him any support among neo-cons, Paul’s support of containment for Iran will turnoff many Christian conservatives who take a very hardline position on Israel. If Paul loses those voters he could be in real trouble.
How he reacts to this announcement will say a great deal about how far Paul can go in unifying the GOP’s three-legged stool.