|Rand Paul / Wikipedia|
Now, per the NYT article, on several significant issues, like reproductive choice and gay rights, Rand Paul is not a libertarian.
Realistically, he's just another far-right Republican who's a paleoconservative rather than a neocon on foreign policy. (Yes, he's somewhat libertarian on drug issues, but, you know what? Even with his War on Drugs, Nixon wasn't totally hardcore on pot, and Jerry Ford wasn't either.)
That said, being a paleocon on foreign policy, in other words, not writing a blank check to Israel, is enough for GOP war hawks to already start shooting at him.
Will Paul stay the course on this issue? I'd say about 50-50. He's not going to totally backpedal, but he will "nuance" his views in weeks ahead.
That said, his paleoconservatism isn't just on Israel issues. Last winter, he officially opposed the Cuban embargo. Assuming Marco Rubio runs, as well as Jeb Bush, Florida could be interesting. Younger Cubans don't seem to viscerally hate Castro, but they may be less likely to vote, and less likely to be Republican. Nonetheless, this stakes out an angle there for Paul, assuming he's in the race that long.
And, he may well be. New Hampshire, the first primary, allows crossover voting, and let's remember, there are more than two political parties in America. Whether Paul being part of the Religious Right on abortion and gays would turn away capital-L Libertarians or not, I don't know. If he could pick up at least a few of them voting GOP, plus, paleoconservative Republicans, he could win that primary.
At a minimum, I expect him to be in the top three in New Hampshire. And neocon/war hawks may backfire with the gang-up process.
Plus, he'll have a domino effect on Cruz, forcing him to either moderate (by his lights) or double down on wacko bird. You know which one he'll do.
That said, Rand Paul's got the baggage of the Paul family brand. If he goes goldbug on fiat currency, like his daddy, he's toast.
Final thought? Rand does have a snowball's chance, which is more than Havana Ted. Does he have two snowballs? I don't think so; and even that one snowball depends on how well he can bury a conspiracy theory past that might just be even worse than Havana Ted's. His toupee probably has a good chance of something; what, I don't know. There's also the question of whether his flip-flops help or hurt. Right now, maybe nothing's helping.