Rand Paul, presidential contender?
Larry, I think Rand Paul is indisputably a more serious candidate than his father - as the conventional wisdom has it, Rand is far better at "retail politics." The challenge will be selling himself as a retail presidential candidate when his political back catalog includes some unfashionable luggage the media will be buying wholesale. They'll be enjoying deep discounts and free shipping on Ron Paul memorabilia, which they'll hang around Rand's neck at every opportunity. He'll get a choice between denouncing his father repeatedly in public, or being morphed into Ron Paul v2.0. It's not fair, but we all know it's coming, and if Rand's retail political skills are equal to their reputation, he knows it's coming.
Also, Rand has said a few things that will come back to haunt him, often expressed during his eager desire to engage full-throttle in the sort of abstract political bull sessions that national political figures must avoid, particularly if the media doesn't like them. No chorus of TV anchors will form up to declare any portion of his political resume "old news," unlike certain other Senators who ran for President.
I like a lot of what Rand Paul says. He's great at expressing important issues in thought-provoking ways. He has a terrific sense of both long American history and the wide-open future. If he demonstrates that he understands what he'll be up against in a presidential race, and has a convincing plan for dealing with it - beyond the standard-issue useless Republican strategy of waiting for media referees to throw penalty flags, and sputtering with outrage when they never come - we might just have ourselves a heavyweight contender.