Here is an excerpt:
“None of this is particularly new. But what has changed since Paul first shocked the political establishment by winning his Senate seat in 2010 is the air of expectancy around him—one that becomes palpable as the banjos stop, the crowd hushes, and a local official comes to the podium to introduce Paul as “our senator, considered by many to be the next president of the United States.”
The notion of President Rand Paul would once have been absurd. Three years ago, he was a Kentucky ophthalmologist mounting an outsider campaign for Senate, still very much in the shadow of his father. But the younger Paul rode a Tea Party wave to Washington, and quickly became the movement’s most intriguing and charismatic spokesperson- an ambassador for libertarian values who takes obvious relish in skewering critics, regardless of their political affiliation. While his father was content to remain a dissenting voice from the margins—or from one end of countless presidential-debate stages—Rand clearly wants to win. His stunningly swift rise in the GOP also amounts to one of the most fascinating tightrope walks in national politics. On the one side is his raucous Tea Party base. On the other is his courting of donors, establishment Republicans, and traditional Democratic constituencies.”
Out of all the members of Congress who washed into Washington with the 2010 Tea Party Wave, Rand Paul has done the best job of not saying anything (too) stupid while still giving love to the base. More importantly, he has made overtures to constituencies that have been traditionally hostile to (and ignored by) the GOP, ranging from the black community to Hispanics to young people. An advocate for reforming a justice system that has people of color in record numbers, Paul is an ardent foe of the War on Drugs and his wariness of the national security complex could resonate with younger voters.
The most important thing for Paul’s 2016 prospects is for him to not to frighten off the moderates and swing voters. Tea Partiers and conservatives in general have quite a record of shooting themselves in their feet and then putting their feet in their mouths. Whether it was Todd “Shutting that whole thing down” Aiken or Christine “I’m not a witch” O’Donnell, or even Sarah Palin’s infamous interview with Katie Couric, you could fill a book with all the insane things to come have out of right wing mouths. I understand that the conservative base is looking for someone who’s relatable to the average Joe, but there has to be a certain amount of quality control if you want to run for elected office.
That being said, when it comes to the presidential elections the Republican primary system has consistently nominated the most electable candidate running. Of course even with the best of machines it is “garbage in, garbage out.” And it was two cycles especially starved of talent that produced the McCain and Romney disasters. However, this time the primary will attract a higher caliber of candidates with people like Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, and of course Rand Paul.
But if Rand Paul can stick to his guns and hold the center, then he could be a very formidable candidate not only in the primary but in the general election as well. This ain’t his father’s Ron Paul.