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Is Ron Paul Good Enough For The Tea Party?

Olga Khazan |
April 26, 2011 | 7:50 p.m. PDT

Senior Editor


From Flickr user Gage Skidmore
From Flickr user Gage Skidmore
Texas Rep. Ron Paul announced today he is forming an exploratory committee in order to determine whether to launch his third campaign for president. His potential candidacy is particularly important because his libertarian fiscal ideas resonate well with the Tea Party movement, which largely developed after his failed run in the last presidential election.

Paul, who believes in extremely limited government and in the abolition of the income tax, won favor in 2007 among young libertarian voters, who donated millions to his campaign via the Internet.

Those anti-tax positions may be popular among Tea Party voters, but Paul also opposes foreign wars and international intervention, something that might be tougher for the Tea Party to swallow.

USA Today reports:

"Judson Phillips, founder of Tea Party Nation, said Paul was "ahead of the curve" on the issue of curbing government spending, but his views on foreign policy were unacceptable to many of those affiliated with the movement.

Some of his ideas are good …not the least of which is the out-of-control spending," Phillips said. "He wants to practice isolationism and, I'm sorry, but when you have Iran and North Korea that have intercontinental ballistic missiles that can arrive in the United States in 20 minutes or less, isolationism is dead."

Scott Wheeler, executive director of the National Republican Trust PAC, agreed. "There is room for a Ron Paul-type candidate if they understand the war on terror, they would drag over a lot more conservatives," he said.""

It certainly doesn't hurt that his son, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, is a Tea Party favorite

But since only 18 percent of Americans identify as Tea Party supporters, and most voters identify as "moderates," Paul will most likely need to stir support among traditional Republicans if he doesn't want a repeat of 2008.

The first debate for 2012 GOP candidates will be May 5 in South Carolina.



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