Presidential hopeful Rand Paul is making unlikely friends. First he blamed his fellow Republicans — and not, notably, Barack Obama — for the ISIS problems. Now Paul is winning over — or at least intriguing — more liberals as he alienates practically the whole GOP. CNN talking head and Washington Post columnist Fareed Zakaria is a liberal thinker. Any doubts? Zakaria wrote the book on its advantages: In Defense of a Liberal Education. Zakaria just wrote a column that calls Paul’s brand of “conservative realism” refreshing. Zakaria calls Paul’s views “politically courageous.” Zakaria makes the case that Paul be taken very seriously.
It’s worth noting that there are various ways to win the center, the critical ground of the American electorate. Liberals tend to have to nod toward libertarians and move right on some issues they’d prefer not to. But coming from the other side Rand Paul has more room to move, and his seemingly unique positioning is drawing lots of attention (like that of Zakaria). Paul, in a crowded field of GOP wannabes that looks like a casting call for a male version of Real Housewives of the Republican Party, has “substance” according to Zakaria. And that scares the Rick Perrys and Marco Rubios. You may not like Senator Rand Paul’s principles, but he no doubt has them. And is willing to stand on them.