Rand Paul is in, and anyone who puts money on him to be the next US president will almost surely lose that money, observe the editors at Bloomberg View. But they're still pretty happy he's running, even if they don't buy into his libertarian positions. "Quite aside from the merits (or absurdity) of his ideas, Paul is pushing his fellow Republicans to question both their politics and their policies," they write. That can only make the party, and the country, stronger. His disdain of national surveillance, for instance, will put candidates in both parties on the spot to be clear on where they stand. Paul also is challenging the GOP to adapt to the nation's changing demographics or risk becoming obsolete, and the editors hope that his ambition to become president won't dilute the effort on that and other matters.
He "can do far more good stretching the Republican Party's ideological straitjacket than he will ever do wearing it," they write. On surveillance, TC Sottek at the Verge notes that Paul raised the issue while kicking off his campaign, meaning that Edward Snowden, "a man many people in Paul's party consider a traitor," was with him at least in spirit. "It's pretty remarkable to see a presidential campaign from a major candidate begin with a nod to the information that Snowden provided to the public about the US government's massive surveillance programs." Something to watch as the campaign unfolds: how Paul deals with what Politico calls his "daddy issue." Ron Paul still is a potent political figure, but his losing campaigns were mostly quixotic. Rand is out to win, but it's not clear that Dad is on board with the "realpoitik considerations of his son's campaign," writes Glenn Thrush.