In the face of this resistance, Paul is not only doing better this year than four years ago, but also better than in any of his other nationwide campaigns, including his run on the Libertarian Party ticket in 1988. Unlike with some politicians, the shift in interest is not attributable to a late conversion on the part of the candidate. Paul's views haven't changed much over his nearly four-decade political career. His railing against the Federal Reserve and warnings about the perils of government power long attracted a following, but never a very large one.
So, what changed? In short, people's attitudes toward the country's wars and their concerns about the country's debt, which the wars have exacerbated. When the Iraq war went south and the counterterrorism mission in Afghanistan morphed into a quixotic nation-building crusade, Paul's bold stance against both wars earned him plaudits from those on the left who do not share his libertarian philosophy. Now, some on the right have begun to embrace Paul's views as well. In addition to his strong performances in several recent primaries and caucuses, he has done well in various straw polls, including last year's Values Voter Summit and the 2010 and 2011 meetings of the Conservative Political Action Conference.
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