Rand Paul Has A Serious Foreign Policy Problem

On Tuesday, April 7, U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) officially announced his intentions to run in the 2016 presidential election. Prior to his announcement, Paul released a prequel political ad announcing his imminent announcement to run for president.

But the great thing about this political ad is that it leaves no doubts as to where Paul stands on many key issues in this election.

Ringing true to the voters is going to be a hard enough battle with an election map that already seems to give the Democrats a sizable lead. But Paul has even bigger problems.

Paul’s political enemies — within his own party and outside of it — aren’t buying the newly re-branded Rand Paul. And they plan to focus on his greatest weakness: foreign policy.

Paul is not the average Republican. Author of The Tea Party Goes to Washington, he attributes much of his campaign success to the tea party’s successes in the 2010 midterm elections. He also adheres to many of the libertarian views of his father, former U.S. Representative Ron Paul (R-Texas).

This blending of political ideals creates a problematic and — at times — contradictory foreign policy position for Rand Paul.

As late as 2011, Paul advocated a 23 percent decrease in defense spending. However, his newest proposal includes a $190 billion increase to defense spending.

The bottom-line is that Paul is beholden to too many different political ilks, and he's simply not going to be able to please them all.
This is largely due to politicians having to live and die by the polls. While 60 percent of libertarians find cutting defense spending an acceptable way to balance the budget, 70 percent of Republicans self-identify as “hawks.”

The back-and-forth isn’t just limited to budget funding. Paul supported sanctioning Russia during the Crimea/Ukraine crisis, but in turn supported negotiating with Iran over its nuclear ambitions.

And Iran is where his well-funded and powerful enemies plan to launch their attack.

While Paul announced his candidacy, The Foundation for a Secure and Prosperous America unleashed an expensive advertising campaign tying Paul to President Obama’s Iran policy, which is exceedingly unpopular with Republicans and independent voters in recent polling.

These ads will be primarily aired in early voting states, as well as on the Internet, and Paul has given them all the ammunition they need for a successful attack.

While Paul has remained silent on last week’s P5+1 framework (a victory for the Obama administration), all of the other Republican contenders have openly criticized it and promised to undo it.

Also rumored by Bloomberg, pro-Israel billionaire Sheldon Adelson plans to open his checkbook to quash any attempt by Paul to gain the nomination. Adelson has spent over $150 million in the past two election cycles, and is definitely not afraid to spend money on PAC advertising against his political foes.

The bottom-line is that Paul is beholden to too many different political ilks, and he’s simply not going to be able to please them all. His attempt to re-brand himself into a mainstream candidate only makes him a huge target within his own party and with Democrats.

This seriously calls into question the viability of Rand Paul’s run for the White House in 2016.