Said Sen. Rand Paul in a recent interview with The Atlantic:
If you look historically, look at the people Republicans say they admire, the founding fathers believed in a very limited executive branch. They very much feared a king, and they wrote all kinds of rules to limit and disperse the power between the executive and the legislative. Most of the founders didn’t even believe in a standing army. They believed in nonintervention, they believed in a policy of neutrality for the most part. So I think maybe you find there’s a strong tradition. There definitely have been, even going back just to Reagan, people who believed certain things shouldn’t be done in Washington, but left to the states. We’ve lost that. Think about it: Reagan wanted to eliminate the Department of Education. That was part of our policy platform from 1980 to 2000, and then George Bush comes in and doubles the size of the Department of Education with No Child Left Behind. Santorum supported it, Gingrich supported it, they all supported it. Ron Paul’s the only one hearkening back to the Reagan platform for the Republican Party.
It’s also worth pointing out that even on foreign policy–something Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum cite specifically when calling themselves “Reagan Republicans”–Paul’s approach is actually closer to Reagan’s than the world policeman mentality the other presidential candidates promote. In June, Sen. Paul described what a conservative foreign policy would look like during a speech at John Hopkins University:
“If for example, we imagine a foreign policy that is everything to everyone, that is everywhere all the time that would be one polar extreme… Likewise, if we imagine a foreign policy that is nowhere any of the time and is completely disengaged from the challenges and dangers to our security that really do exist in the world—well, that would be the other polar extreme… But what about a foreign policy of moderation? A foreign policy that argues that—maybe we could be somewhere some of the time?”
Sen. Paul added: “Reagan’s foreign policy was one in which we were somewhere, some of the time, in which the missions were clear and defined, and there was no prolonged military conflict—and this all took place during the Cold War.”
Former American Conservative Union Chairman (and current NRA President) David Keene has compared the conservative prudence of Reagan’s foreign policy with the hyper-interventionist, neoconservative vision that often dominates today:
“Reagan resorted to military force far less often than many of those who came before him or who have since occupied the Oval Office. . . . After the  assault on the Marine barracks in Lebanon, it was questioning the wisdom of U.S. involvement that led Reagan to withdraw our troops rather than dig in. He found no good strategic reason to give our regional enemies inviting U.S. targets. Can one imagine one of today’s neoconservative absolutists backing away from any fight anywhere?”
Source: Paulitical Ticker with Jack Hunter