Is Rand Paul in a fight with Christie or with the entire GOP donor class?

The resurgence of libertarianism in the GOP means different things to these donors—some of them are happy to see marijuana legalizers get their footing. By and large they want the party to get behind some form of immigration reform (Bob Perry, the old Swift Boat vets donor, was a believer). Rand Paul was aware of that when he rebranded himself as a possible reformer, saying enough to move the bill along with conservatives without actually endorsing their plan.

Alas, the pure libertarians aren’t compatible with the rest of their views. The donor class that wanted Christie, settled for Romney, and wants Christie again needs a candidate who’ll slash at regulation in office and come off patriotic (and pro-Israel) enough to actually get into office. There’s plenty of overlap with the conservative hawks who can feel the movement shifting away from them, but libertarians are more worried about the donors than the likes of Bill Kristol or Rep. Peter King. One example: Rand Paul’s circle worries that Paul Singer may become enamored of the idea of a pro-gay marriage hawk and boost Liz Cheney’s campaign for U.S. Senate.

Every week there’s another reminder that the GOP’s libertarian wing hasn’t truly overcome the Bush wing. Back in Aspen, Christie gave them more fresh evidence. “President Obama has done nothing to change the policies of the Bush administration in the war on terrorism,” he said. “I mean practically nothing. You know why? Because they work.”

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