Standing somewhere between the “fringe and GOP establishment,” U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is (potentially) the most important conservative statesman in the country, according to the Weekly Standard.
At least that’s what a profile in an upcoming issue of the opinion magazine submits for public consideration. The balancing act for Paul over the past four months has been interesting to watch, particularly as his Tea Party idealism collides with his frustration with the slow pace of the U.S. Senate.
From the Weekly Standard:
While the substance of his positions is barely distinguishable from his father’s, and his goal of “constitutional government” is entirely in accord with the Tea Party, Paul avoids the fiery jeremiads and utopian demands of his allies. He’s willing to talk to and work with people who disagree with him. (Ron Paul’s office did not respond to my requests for an interview.) He realizes that tearing the federal government apart is impracticable. “I’m for incremental change,” he told me.
The genius of Rand Paul is that, by picking his battles and finessing his message, he earns mainstream credibility without jettisoning his small-government and non-interventionist bonafides. “I think he’s been great,” Brian Doherty told me. Doherty’s an editor at Reason magazine and the author of Radicals for Capitalism, a history of American libertarianism. “He’s been surprisingly excellent as a rhetorician for the ideas.” Doherty’s boss at Reason, editor in chief Matt Welch, has a cover story in the June issue on Paul. “He has done more to inject libertarian ideas into the Washington debate than any senator I can remember,” writes Welch, “all within his first three months in office.”
It’s also interesting that Paul wants state Tea Party activists to unite, but they want to remain local and independent from one another. The lack of a statewide Tea Party could have an effect on the 2011 gubernatorial race as each group decides who to support in the general election.
“I want them to coalesce and be the Kentucky Tea Party so they can have more influence and they sort of resist and do things by city,” Paul says.