We’ve previously noted that if South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford runs for president, it will be difficult for him to hold together a coalition of conventionally hawkish Republicans and the Ron Paul supporters who’ve been attracted to his small-government conservatism. Either Sanford will have to back away from his criticisms of preventive war and interventionism or risk the wrath of most Republicans, who are either Jacksonian national-security types or believe in something like the Bush Doctrine.
North Korea was the first test for Sanford and he sided with the advocates of pre-emption. Noninterventionist conservatives are predictably displeased. My own view is that Sanford basically punted on the question, saying nice things about his “former boss” Newt Gingrich and mean things about Democratic fecklessness instead of giving a Fox News audience a considered presentation of his preferred foreign policy. But since it is impossible to imagine that kind of answer coming from Ron Paul, it’s the first good reason to doubt he’ll go out of his way to please Paulites on issues of war and peace.