Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos is breaking with fellow Republican Senate candidates (and Washington partisan orthodoxy) to stand alone on two high-profile issues: The so-called Ryan Medicare plan and the draw-down of troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Haridopolos said he would've voted no on the Ryan Medicare plan (albeit, after bumbling his answer). Republicans Adam Hasner, George LeMieux and Mike McCallister said they'd vote for it.
Yesterday, at a candidate forum, Haridopolos seemed to back President Obama's draw down of troops. His GOP opponents and Capitol Hill Republicans have criticized the draw-down saying it's too much too quickly and bucks the advice of the generals.
“Our politicians need to let the generals win the war and they need to listen to them,” said McCalister, a former military man who boasts of being the only candidate to wear a service uniform. Drawing the support of LeMieux and Hasner, McCallister said it was a bad idea to set a date for troop withdrawals.
But Haridopolos said the troops should come home quickly.
"That has to be done because we are stretched thin at home,'' said the Merritt Island Republican, who later backpedaled and added that he did not support any timeline for withdrawing. "I think we need to look at home first.”
Aside from separating himself from his opponents, Haridopolos' positions have another similarity: Both are popular positions that befit a candidate in a general election, rather than a partisan primary. Haridopolos will argue his positions make him more electable. Opponents will say it makes him a poll-tested "populist," which has became a slur in the GOP in the wake of Charlie Crist.