WSJ: Iraq War Poses a Test for Rand PaulSubmitted by RandWatcher on Mon, 06/30/2014 - 13:25
GOP Senator's Stance Widens Gap Between Him and Other Possible 2016 Hopefuls
By Beth Reinhard | June 27, 2014
The Wall Street Journal
GOP Sen. Rand Paul went over his notes backstage before speaking at a conservative conference in Washington, D.C., earlier this month. Melissa Golden for The Wall Street Journal
The violence in Iraq is widening the foreign-policy gap between Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and other potential Republican candidates for the White House, and testing the strength of the pro-defense wing that has long dominated the party.
Among Republicans weighing 2016 bids, Mr. Paul is the most skeptical of foreign entanglements and the only one blaming the current crisis in Iraq on the Bush administration's 2003 invasion, as well as on President Barack Obama.
By reviving the sensitive debate within the GOP over Iraq, Mr. Paul risks undermining his efforts to court his party's old guard and to distinguish himself from his father, former Texas Rep. Ron Paul, a leading critic of the war who ran for president twice. The senator's stance that the U.S. should stay out of Iraq also raises the stakes in his budding 2016 rivalry with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who is calling for airstrikes against Iraqi insurgent groups and their supply lines.
In a sign of the impending backlash to Mr. Paul's likely candidacy and to others who back his views, former Vice President Dick Cheney and his daughter Liz Cheney are launching a new organization to advocate for a strong national defense and an active role in world affairs.