In all likelihood, Rand Paul cannot be nominated for president by the Republican Party unless he distances himself to a considerable degree from the views of his father. The younger Paul seems to understand this. For example, he has recently showed far more sympathy for Israel (which he visited) than Ron Paul ever displayed.
But Rand Paul’s filibuster against (non-existent) drone attacks on American citizens minding their own business in the U.S. may well have changed all that. It gave Paul rock-star status among a fairly broad array of conservatives. Having achieved that status through a pure Paulist (and leftist) theme — the threat to our national soul caused by the war on terror — the Senator from Kentucky may now see far less need to recalibrate Paulism.
Paul’s speech to CPAC manifested little tendency to recalibrate. Though nothing he said precludes a course correction, Paul came across to me as a politician who expects the Mountain to come him, by virtue of the power of his heart-felt creed, without the need for much accommodation. View the speech for yourself and see what you think.
If I’m right about Paul’s state of mind, then he has probably peaked too soon for his own good. The Republican “Mountain” isn’t inclined to come to outsiders, and cannot be expected to come to an outsider who doesn’t seek an accommodation with two-thirds of its base.