I recently wrote and repeated a part serious, mostly pipe dream comment that a silver lining of a Romney-Ryan loss to Obama could perhaps be “Ryan-Paul 2016.”* Commenter Damon Linker chided me in the comments with this offer: “I would bet a substantial amount of money that no Paul will ever make it onto a presidential ticket.” I think he’s right that the odds don’t favor any Paul getting even a sniff of a Republican ticket. Ryan-Rice and Ryan-Rubio are much more likely tickets. But stranger things have happened in American politics, as I noted in response. Few people thought Sarah Palin would be on the 2008 ticket, right? And Paul seems committed to running in a more conservative direction than his father but is still hitting enough of his father’s themes to put together a pretty large bloc of the Republican Party (not to mention tempting independent and LP libertarians into the fold).
Apparently Dan McCarthy at the American Conservative was also thinking about Rand Paul’s future within the Republican Party. He just penned an interesting essay on Paul’s future over at TAC. I recommend you have a look. Here are two paragraphs from that piece:
Senator Paul is arguably the only figure on the horizon who can make the Republican Party whole again. He has the potential to pull together the many tribes of the conservative base (leaving out the neoconservatives, who have no grassroots following) into a unified coalition, something the party hasn’t seen since 2004, when even Buchanan was on board with Bush. But there’s a complication: the very signals that help establish Rand with the biggest boomer tribes risk alienating the post-boomers. [snip]
But the next generation, while it has its own defects, hasn’t yet calcified. This is the time to teach them aright. They have a passion for knowledge: they’re drawn to Austrian economics or distributism, not just Chamber of Commerce economics; they love Kirkian conservatism, not just “culture war” animosity. They’re not merely in favor of entrenched interests and prejudices; they want a philosophy that’s reflective and open. It will have to be prudent, too, if all this is to amount to more than the boomers’ protest politics. But then, they can’t do any worse than the generation that gave us Bill O’Reilly.
* Not that I’m sold on Ryan as the best realistic Republican standard-bearer for the future.