- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Former Obama adviser David Axelrod said the “anti-institution” bona fides of Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky is one of the reasons why his favorability is higher than that of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s in a new poll.

“Every institution is polling badly,” Mr. Axelrod said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “The military is doing all right, but they’re not doing as well as they used to be, and secondly, people are turning inward.”

Forty-seven percent of respondents in a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll said the United States should become less active in foreign affairs, 19 percent said more active and 30 percent favored the current level.

Mr. Paul bristles when people try to label him an “isolationist” — which Mr. Axelrod did — but he is certainly less hawkish than many sectors of the Republican party, notably the neoconservative movement that permeated the administration of President George W. Bush.

Mr. Paul had a marginally negative rating in the poll; 23 percent view him positively and 26 percent view him negatively. Meanwhile, 21 percent have a positive view of Mr. Bush, and 32 percent had a negative view.

Jeb Bush has two problems,” Mr. Axelrod said. “One is the name Bush, which is still not a popular name in our politics, and the second is that he is an establishment guy, but he’s a guy who’s been willing to take some stands on [issues] like Common Core standards, on immigration, that are completely antithetical to the base of his party.

“And I still think he could be a strong general election candidate, but I’m not sure how he gets through that process of making major, major compromises that would make him a bad general election candidate,” he continued. “It’s very, very difficult terrain for him.”