If you've followed the ping-ponging fortunes of Rand Paul over the last few days, one thing becomes clear, writes Ben Smith: "There’s a difference between campaigning as an outsider—and really being one." Paul has already begun backtracking from his volatile statement that the Civil Rights Act needs a little work, and even Jim DeMint, who's no stranger to lobbing rhetorical hand grenades, says the new guy needs a talking-to.
"But the civil rights controversy was likely only the first challenge to a candidate who comes in a long—and often unhappy—line of outsiders who make it to power, often to become part of a system that finds ways to reject them," Smith writes for Politico. The controversy may actually cheer his libertarian supporters for his stand on principle, but life in the Senate revolves around the messy politics of the real world. (Read more Rand Paul stories.)