Rand Paul: GOP party leader or destined for Ron Paul backwater?

by Brad Knickerbocker, CSMonitor.com  |  published on March 11, 2013

rand paul

President Obama made nice with a number of significant Republicans this past week, wining and dining them as part of his new charm offensive with the GOP.

But the top political newsmaker of the week was not included in that group, nor was he invited to join any of the TV news blabfests Sunday – Sen. Rand Paul (R) of Kentucky.

Why is that, and what does it indicate about Senator Paul’s future?

Does he even have a future beyond the libertarian/tea party corner of American politics? That’s the place where his father, retired congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul (R) of Texas, drew an enthusiastic (although minority) following, making it tougher for more establishment candidates like Mitt Romney to win their party’s nomination and annoying fellow Republicans generally.

Some senior Republican senators did find the younger Mr. Paul annoying when he held up Senate business for 13 hours, filibustering the nomination of John Brennan to be director of the CIA. It was not personal, he had said, but a point of principle: The need for the Obama administration to concede that targeting suspected American terrorists on US soil without due process would be unconstitutional.

Sen. John McCain accused Paul of a “political stunt,” and Sen. Lindsey Graham called the junior senator from Kentucky “ill-informed.”

Perhaps, but it’s also worth noting that although Americans generally approve of drone attacks on terrorists abroad, most agree with Paul on his key point about targeting US citizens at home.

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