When Rand Paul announced his presidential bid last month, the talking heads described him as the more Libertarian candidate of all the Republicans running in the 2016 primary. Many people say Rand Paul is very much like his father Ron Paul and would continue to represents the Libertarian view.
But not all Florida Libertarians agree with that assumption. In fact, several among the Florida Libertarian leadership say they are not impressed with Paul the Younger.
2014 Florida Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Adrian Wyllie is one of those who isnt a big fan of Rand Paul. Wyllie calls him the Ziggy Marley of Libertarianism. He may kinda sound like his dad once in a while, but his tunes fail to inspire.
Wyllie also believes Rand Paul is too willing to compromise core principles for political expediency. Many of Rand's supporters are telling me he is just "playing the political game" in order to be elected, says Wyllie.
Another Florida Libertarian who has been critical of Paul is Alex Snitker. Snitker was the Libertarian candidate in 2010 for the Florida U.S. Senate.
In March, Snitker wrote an article on the website The Global Dispatch, claiming Rand Paul is not a Libertarian. Rand Paul does not agree with the party on civil liberties. He has been inconsistent in his foreign policy and his playing the game gives me reason to have a mistrust for him, said Snitker.
Libertarians list a few examples of Rand Pauls more Republican stance than the Libertarian stance he portrays.
In 2012, Paul supported Republican candidate Mitt Romney over the Libertarian candidate, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson. In 2013, he endorsed Mitch McConnell in the Kentucky Republican primary over the more conservative candidate Matt Bevin.
National Libertarians say Rand Paul also has flip-flopped on the issue dealing with the "war on drugs." One moment he supports keeping drugs illegal and the next he supports ending the war altogether. They also say he has changed his tune on national defense and foreign wars.
Rand Paul has proposed spending more money on defense -- something that drives Libertarians up a tree. Nicholas Sarwark, chair of the Libertarian Party, said Paul supports sending our troops back to Iraq.
In Florida, Libertarians say Paul has damaged local Libertarian candidates. In the special election of March 2014, Paul recorded a robocall in favor of Republican David Jolly over the libertarian candidate Lucas Overby. Floridians said Paul supported the candidate who was anti-Libertarian on foreign policy.
But Rand Paul does have his Libertarian supporters in the Sunshine State.
Jim Burkiewicz, registered Libertarian, occasional guest commentator on the Florida Radio Network, who worked on the Adrian Wyllie campaign in 2014, says Paul is the best candidate for president in the 2016 presidential race. Its a no-brainer, he says.
Bob White, state chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus, a group that leans more Libertarian in the Florida Republican Party, compliments Rand Paul on many of his positions. With the dad (Ron Paul), it was about the liberty movement. And some people dont see that with the son (Rand Paul), says White.
But White also says, This argument shouldnt be about who is more Libertarian, but who is more in line with the Constitution, and Paul is one of those guys.
Ed Dean, a senior editor with SSN whose talk-show can be heard on radio stations across Florida, can be reached email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @eddeanradio.