As Mr. Paul opens new doors to younger voters and others who have turned away from Republicans, few issues have proved more persuasive for the libertarian-minded senator than his wariness of centralized authority and his skepticism of military intervention. Yet those same positions have alarmed powerful elements of the Republican base who have undertaken a campaign to portray Mr. Paul as dangerously misguided.
They include right-leaning supporters of Israel, neoconservative think tanks, veterans of the George W. Bush administration and the widely read writers of The Weekly Standard, National Review and the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal. Underscoring the potential threat to Mr. Paul, these are not just influential voices but people who hold considerable clout in the moneyed circles that control the flow of cash into campaigns and “super PACs.”
And so far, despite an aggressive charm offensive by the senator that has included dinners with former ambassadors and military brass, a trip to Israel and an in-person pitch to the board of the Republican Jewish Coalition, a group heavily financed by the casino billionaire Sheldon G. Adelson, the criticism still rains down.