http://blog.chron.com/rickperry/2012/01/pauls-anti-war-call-attracts-gop-ears/ Paulâs anti-war call attracts GOP ears WASHINGTON â GOP presidential hopeful Ron Paulâs anti-war stand is considered so out of sync with his party that rival Rick Santorum puts him to the left of President Barack Obama, on par with liberal anti-war Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio. But to his supporters, Paul is returning the GOP to its cautious foreign policy roots, articulated in President Dwight Eisenhowerâs 1961 warning about âthe military-industrial complex.â In their view, the Republican Party lost its way starting with the Reagan military buildup in the 1980s and reaching a crescendo with former President George W. Bushâs invasion of Iraq in 2003. âGeorge Bush was the worst thing that ever happened to the Republican Party,â said Robert Nadeau, owner of Nadeau Family Vinters in Paso Robles, Calif. âWhen I look at the Republican Party going back to World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam, the Republican candidates were the end-the-war candidates. âThe party of Eisenhower and (Richard) Nixon has now become the war party. How did that happen? How is it weâre willing to borrow $1 trillion from the Chinese so we can throw bombs on people whose regimes we propped up?â Expensive wars in Iraq and Afghanistan coupled with trillion-dollar deficits at home are creating cognitive dissonance among tea party, evangelical Christian and traditional Republicans in conservative regions around the country. For voters who once supported Sen. John McCain and Bush, the small-government, anti-war message from a 76-year-old candidate who critics say looks like he should be feeding pigeons is resonating. Establishment Republicans give Paul zero chance of winning the GOP nomination, but the partyâs neo-conservative wing has been alarmed enough about his message that former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson accused Paulâs supporters of trying to âerase 158 years of Republican Party history,â reeling it back to the era before Abraham Lincoln. Gerson called Paulâs platform âisolationist, libertarian, conspiratorial and tinged with racism.â âHe really is not resonating with establishment Republicans,â who consider Paulâs opposition to sanctions on Iran as âextremely dangerous,â GOP analyst Ford OâConnell said. But polls show Paul headed for a second-place finish in the New Hampshire Primary on Tuesday behind Mitt Romney, boosted by the stateâs open primary that invites independents to vote. In the Iowa caucuses earlier this week, Paul doubled his showing of four years ago by capturing 21 percent of the vote. Exit polling from the Iowa caucuses showed Paul picking up 18 percent of participants described as evangelical Christians, outpacing Romney and Rick Perry, who both got 14 percent of these voters. Santorum, who came in second just eight votes behind Romney, got 32 percent of these voters. Paul also matched Romney among tea party supporters at 19 percent, while Santorum won the tea party bloc at 29 percent. In New Hampshire, however, Santorum is lagging behind Paul 8 percent to 18 percent, according to the Boston-based Suffolk poll. Analysts expect Paul to run into a wall two weeks from now in South Carolinaâs closed primary thatâs restricted to Republican voters, and say his appeal is limited to a loyal bloc of diehards. âHe hits a ceiling at 25 percent,â said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center, which runs the Suffolk poll. âThe only state where he can break above 25 percent is Virginia, and thatâs only because heâs one of two candidates on the ballotâ along with Romney. ââLoyal blocâ six months ago was called 10 percent, so now itâs 20 percent and no oneâs noticed itâs doubled,â said John Dennis, a San Francisco activist for Paul who ran as the Republican challenger to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., two years ago. âThe Republican Party was noninterventionist but the neoconservatives took that over,â Dennis said. âBut our roots are still there, because it makes common sense to conservatives not to go to war simply from a fiscal point of view.â The Paul campaignâs strategy is to collect delegates with an eye toward influencing the party platform. Caucuses in Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, North Dakota and Washington, can allow passionate followers an outsized influence because open balloting is conducted among small local groups, as opposed to statewide primaries with secret ballots. Political analysts are skeptical, however, that Romney or any of the other GOP contenders would embrace Paulâs libertarian positions, which include not just his anti-war stance but his opposition to the war on drugs, the Federal Reserve and other issues. At the same time, they say, the eventual candidate can ill afford to alienate Paulâs followers if he continues to rack up vote shares in the 20 percent range. Paulâs visibility is getting a boost from a war-weary public, combined with a sitting Democratic president who many Democrats believe has continued Bush policies on terrorism, civil liberties and war, said David Boaz, executive vice president of the libertarian Cato Institute. Paul also is benefiting from voter distaste over record deficit spending, he added. Paul has âbrought together this concept of economic conservatism, social moderation and staying out of unnecessary wars,â Boaz said. âThat combination hasnât been offered by any other Republican presidential candidate in a long time.