Most political commentators on cable and pundits in the media do fully
understand one of the big sleeper issues that could dramatically affect
the campaign. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) will probably be the only
presidential candidate in either party taking an unequivocal position to
withdraw American troops from Afghanistan and engage in a broader
withdrawal of our military around the world at a time when voters are
tired of war and budgets are strained to crisis levels.
You heard it here: Watch out for this issue; it could give Dr. Paul more support than political insiders realize. Many Americans agree with Dr. Paul about this. As he stakes out this position and dramatizes it in debates, it could bring him surprising new support.
Will this anti-war position bring in some liberal Democrats and independents to vote for him for the Republican nomination, since there will be no contest on the Democratic side? Some states allow crossover voting, and there will be plenty of time for protest voters to register Republican in states that don't allow crossovers.
With a divided and mediocre Republican field, will Dr. Paul's position attract Republican protest votes against the war policy in addition to his core voters? With three, four, five or six other candidates, does this open the door to Dr. Paul winning primary or caucus states by pluralities?
This does not mean I agree with Dr. Paul's position. I do not. I favor some phase-down of our troop strength in Afghanistan to meet other military commitments and somewhat lower defense spending, but I would not go nearly as far as Dr. Paul.
However, this is about political analysis. I predict Dr. Paul's anti-war position will be a sleeper issue working in his favor to the surprise of many analysts. Remember where you heard it.