Only in the area of foreign affairs was there a substantive policy difference and in that area one candidate — Ron Paul — stood out. He was the sole isolationist (or even relative isolationist) on the stage. Every other candidate was considerably firmer than the incumbent president in his or her support for a strong American defense, not to mention for a steadfast opposition to a nuclear Iran. Paul was by himself on the opposite side, further to the left on national defense than Barack Obama.
So it was Ron Paul’s foreign policy views that were repudiated by Iowa Republicans on Tuesday.
And they were roundly repudiated — 79 to 21 by the vote percentages.
Paul was defeated by Rick Santorum, a foreign policy hawk who called Paul’s views “disgusting,” and by Mitt Romney, whose opinions are similar to Santorum’s (as were all the other candidates’ in the Iowa caucus).
Paul sought to place a positive spin on his third place finish in a “victory” speech, but it rang hollow as his son, Senator Rand Paul, standing behind him, conspicuously stopped applauding when his father’s words turned to foreign policy. The Senator had the look of someone who wished he were someplace else.
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