(Photo: Reuters / Sean Gardner)
Ron Paul, who commonly goes against the grain of mainstream Republican ideas, has now peaked the interest of pundits on both sides after he said he would consider appointing Rep. Dennis Kucinich, an Ohio Democrat, to a newly-created post.
It’s not uncommon for presidents to reach across the aisle for cabinet members. President Clinton appointed former Maine senator William Cohen as defense secretary and Obama appointed former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman as ambassador to China. Now Huntsman is running against his old boss, hoping to replace him in the White House if Huntsman can win the GOP primary. Given his recent poll numbers, that may be a long-shot.
While Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich may seem like an odd couple, their similarities may outnumber their differences.
Kucinich ran for president in the Democratic primary in 2008 and his policies and positions were considered to the left of Obama and of former New York Senator Hillary Clinton, who now serves as Secretary of State in the Obama administration. Kucinich’s views were also considered to be outside of many mainstream Democratic positions.
Paul made his comments while speaking at an event hosted by The Christian Science Monitor on Wednesday, saying his libertarian views allow him to see “eye-to-eye” with liberal counterparts such as Kucinich. He referenced creating a “Department of Peace” and mentioned Kucinich as a possible candidate. Both Paul and Kucinich are frequent critics of U.S. military presence overseas.
Additionally, Paul has co-sponsored legislation with ultra-liberal congressman Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), which would allow states to legalize marijuana – a position that will not garner much support with his GOP colleagues in the House and Senate.
Although Paul is seeking the GOP nomination, his views tend to be more liberal on many fiscal and foreign policy issues.
“Being pragmatic is about forming coalitions,” Paul told the gathering. “I probably work with coalitions better than other candidates. I don’t think I’ve said anything negative here about the president.”
Paul did win a recent straw poll in California and had a more than respectable showing in Iowa. However, his poll numbers among Republican voters nationwide have been low and he has never achieved the “frontrunner” status that Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney or Texas Governor Rick Perry has achieved.
Paul will have yet another chance to expand on his policy statements Thursday night, at a FOXNews/Google GOP presidential debate in Orlando, Fla.