Chait pinpoints why Rand Paul’s foreign policy heterodoxy is tolerated:
Partisanship has played a huge role here. To be fair, both bases tend to trust their own president to wage war more than the other party’s. Republican noninterventionism spiked under Bill Clinton, essentially disappeared under Bush, and has reemerged under Obama. Note that the particulars of Paul’s foreign policy stances position himself against Obama in every case — where Obama has gone left, like on Guantánamo, Paul goes right, and where Obama goes right, like on drones, Paul goes left. His drone filibuster won attaboys from hawkish Republicans like Charles Krauthammer and Seth Lipsky, both of whom confess a queasiness about the content of Paul’s argument but simply enjoy his role as administration antagonist.