Jonathan Chait

Rand Paul, Fanatic Or Operator?

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Jason Zengerle has a really terrific profile of Rand Paul in GQ. You should definitely read the entire thing, but I wanted to pull out one especially interesting passage, in which Republicans try to figure out whether Paul will play ball:

All of this has left Republicans in a state of high anxiety about which positions Paul will maintainand which ones he's willing to bend ononce he enters the Senate. "After the primary, there's been a split and a debate," a Republican strategist involved in efforts to derail Paul this past spring tells me. "Half of us think Paul is far more ambitious than his fatherhe doesn't just want to prove a point, he wants to be a playerand that his ambition will outweigh his ideology." According to this view, Paul's success will ensure his obedience. "I think he'll be laundered by the Senate a little bit," another prominent conservative predicts. "He'll still sometimes be a pain in the neck for the leadership, but I'd expect him to get Senate-ized over time."

But not everyone is so sure. Says the Republican strategist, "There's the other half who think he really is his father's kid, he's kind of a schmuck, and he may well lose a seat we should otherwise winand frankly, we aren't terribly upset about it."

That passage is preceded by scenes of Paul kow-towing to neoconservatives and making nice with Aipac. His father must be having conniptions.

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