Can Rand Paul mainstream libertarianism? I certainly hope so, but I'm not going to get my hopes up too high. From The New York Times via Nick Gillespie at Reason.com
As Rand Paul test-markets a presidential candidacy and tries to broaden his appeal, he is also trying to take libertarianism, an ideology long on the fringes of American politics, into the mainstream. Midway through his freshman term, he has become a prominent voice in Washington’s biggest debates — on government surveillance, spending and Middle East policy.
If anybody can get the job done, it's Rand Paul. He's the most articulate libertarian to come along in quite some time. And he's from Kentucky! What's not to like?
It needs to be remembered, though, that the establishment (GOP and Democratic alike, as well as the establishment's press cheerleaders) will not cut Paul any slack. He has ties to people with wackier views than his (his father, for instance) and every attempt will be made to stick those views onto him. He won't get the pass that President Obama gets for the views of some of his fringe friends, like Bill Ayers and the Rev. Wright.