How the Paul-Cruz com­pe­ti­tion can re­shape the GOP

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - BY RALPH Z. HALLOW

The most at­ten­tion-grab­bing con­ser­va­tives in the emerg­ing 2016 Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion race are two fresh­men U.S. se­na­tors who had never held elec­tive of­fice be­fore. Though nearly equal in their fan­fare, Rand Paul of Ken­tucky and Ted Cruz of Texas are ro­manc­ing Repub­li­can and in­de­pen­dent vot­ers in rad­i­cally dif­fer­ent ways.

The out­come of their fierce com­pe­ti­tion could in­flu­ence the di­rec­tion of their party.

Win or lose, both men have an op­por­tu­nity to in­flu­ence a new gen­er­a­tion of con­ser­va­tives in tac­tics, pol­icy and coali­tion-build­ing while read­just­ing the move­ment’s planks of fis­cal re­straint, free mar­kets, strong se­cu­rity and so­cial val­ues.

Fash­ion­ing him­self as an un­com­pro­mis­ing truth-teller, Mr. Cruz wants a strict ad­her­ence to the fed­eral spend­ing re­straints promised, but not prac­ticed, by Repub­li­cans over most of the past 25 years. His ad­mir­ers say they would trust him to ad­vance the Bi­ble as the one true word, the foun­da­tion of Amer­i­can pol­i­tics and pol­icy at home and abroad.

Mr. Paul ad­vo­cates a more in­clu­sive ap­proach. He ap­peals to vot­ers re­gard­less of re­li­gion, po­lit­i­cal in­cli­na­tion or life­style and sub­stan­tively pushes a for­eign pol­icy tipped away from un­end­ing in­ter­ven­tion. He has po­si­tioned him­self as a uniter ca­pa­ble of ex­pand­ing the Repub­li­can Party beyond its core.

“We’re an in­creas­ingly di­verse na­tion, and I think we do need to reach out to other peo­ple that don’t look like us, don’t wear the same clothes, that aren’t ex­actly who we are,” he told Iowa Repub­li­cans.

In a Se­nate floor speech last month, Mr. Paul once again laid out his prin­ci­ples for for­eign pol­icy, us­ing the Is­lamic State cri­sis in the Mid­dle East as a case study.

“In­ter­ven­tion cre­ated this chaos,” he said. “To those who wish un­lim­ited in­ter­ven­tion and boots on the ground ev­ery­where, re­mem­ber the smil­ing poses of politi­cians pon­tif­i­cat­ing about so-called free­dom fight­ers and he­roes in Libya, in Syria and in Iraq — un­aware that the so-called free­dom fight­ers may well have been al­lied with kid­nap­pers and are killers and ji­hadists.”

Is­rael dif­fer­ences

The Mid­dle East and Amer­ica’s long al­liance with Is­rael cre­ates another pos­si­ble sep­a­ra­tion point be­tween th­ese men of am­bi­tion.

Mr. Paul has vis­ited Is­rael in the company of Amer­i­can rab­bis, evan­gel­i­cal min­is­ters and Catholic priests and has em­braced the Jewish state as a friend and ally.

Some evan­gel­i­cals, how­ever, say Mr. Cruz has gone well beyond Mr. Paul’s state­ments and see him as a fel­low “dis­pen­sa­tion­al­ist,” even though Mr. Cruz has not pub­licly iden­ti­fied him­self

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