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Opening Arguments

Everyone to the middle!

Well, that didn't take long:

When the presidential buzz began building around Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) a couple of years ago, the expectation was that his libertarian ideas could make him the most unusual and intriguing voice among the major contenders in the 2016 field.

But now, as he prepares to make his formal announcement Tuesday, Paul is a candidate who has turned fuzzy, having trimmed his positions and rhetoric so much that it’s unclear what kind of Republican he will present himself as when he takes the stage.

“He’s going to get his moment in the sun,” said David Adams, who served as campaign chairman for Paul’s insurgent 2010 Senate campaign. “What he does with it from there will have bearing on the Republican Party.”

There are at least two areas where Paul has moved more in line with the conservative Republican base, somewhat to the consternation of the purists in the libertarian movement: adopting a more muscular posture on defense and foreign policy, and courting the religious right.

Somebody tell Mr. Paul that there will be plenty of candidates of the conservative persuasion, starting with Ted Cruz and Scott Walker. The debates need a coherent libertarian view expressed, and it looks, sadly, like he might not provide it. I'm beginning to suspect that by the time the primaries get here, the candidates will all sound alike and we won't really know who stands for what. How depressing.

Then there is this:

The center-right is putting more money into the game — and taking fresh aim at the conservatives bent on dragging the House to the right.

The deep-pocketed American Action Network, which has raised over $104 million since 2011, will put $1.8 million toward ads in 76 districts touting members who stood up to right-wing pressure and supported the House leadership on the budget and bipartisan Medicare legislation.

Yeah, cause moderation has been such a winner for Republicans. Can't stop themselves from being the Stupid Party, it looks like.