Rand Paul's libertarian dilemma

There is also a much ballyhooed poll that showed only 70 percent of Ron Paul delegates to the 2012 Iowa Republican Convention standing with Rand this time around. The fact that the defectors are mainly supporting Cruz and Walker suggests that they aren’t searching for a more dovish candidate.

But these Ron Paul voters don’t have as high a profile as Drew Ivers, who ran the former Texas congressman’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns in Iowa (he did the same for Pat Robertson in 1988 and Pat Buchanan in 1996). Ivers isn’t supporting Rand Paul, complaining, “The strategy of sending a blended message is one that has risk.”

Paul has attempted a delicate balance, but hasn’t always gotten it right. It’s worth noting, however, that I heard many of the same complaints about Paul’s ambition and lack of purity when I profiled him for Reason before he even won the Republican senatorial primary in 2010. A lot of it went away as he was attacked by GOP critics like Rudy Giuliani and Dick Cheney.