Say the 2016 Republican presidential primary comes down to Rand Paul and… well, just about anybody else in the GOP field.
Don’t you think that a lot of Republicans will line up behind “Anybody Else”, compared to the senator who said:
“People here in town think I’m making a huge mistake. Some of them, I think, secretly want there to be an attack on the United States so they can blame it on me.”
“ISIS exists and grew stronger because of the hawks in our party who gave arms indiscriminately, and most of those arms were snatched up by ISIS. These hawks also wanted to bomb Assad, which would have made ISIS’s job even easier. They’ve created these people.”
“These people who call loudest to criticize me are great proponents of President Obama’s foreign policy, and they just want to do it ten times over. I’m really the one standing up to President Obama, and these people are essentially the lapdogs for President Obama, and I think they’re sensitive about that.”
There are a decent number of Republicans who share at least part of Paul’s wariness about the Patriot Act, or the NSA, or domestic surveillance. But he regularly goes at least one step too far, and sometimes way too far. A lot of Republicans could vote for a nominee who wanted to strengthen civil liberties and limit the power of the government to watch its citizens. But they’ll never back a potential GOP nominee who accuses them of secretly rooting for terror attacks and are responsible for the rise of ISIS.
If the GOP nominee talks about other Republicans like that, who needs a Democratic candidate?