Rand Paul: Vote for my dad

Effective. A filial endorsement is endearing, if predictable, and Rand’s already prominent enough as a national figure that his stamp of approval qualifies as a rare “mainstream” thumbs up for his pop. The message is smart, too: No policy specifics, just a promise that Ron will stick to his principles because that’s what he’s been doing for 50 years. True enough; whatever his other faults, the fear that President Paul would “evolve” in office is absolute zero. Quite a contrast with the likely nominee.

They’re going for the Iowa tea-party vote here, I take it, but I don’t know how helpful Rand or anyone else will be on that count. It’s received wisdom in the media that Ron is a godfather of the movement because he was way ahead of the curve politically on spending, but that’s simplistic. ABC notes that tea partiers are more likely to support “peace through strength” than other Republicans are and support maintaining military spending at its current levels to the tune of 60 percent. In their latest joint poll with WaPo, they asked “tea-party supporters” a bunch of different questions related to the campaign, including which Republican candidate is “most likely to agree with you on the issues that matter most to you.” That’s tailor-made for Ron Paul, and yet:

Fifth place among tea partiers, half the total that Bachmann got. Compare and contrast with how he fared among Republicans who are “tea-party neutral.” If anything, I think Rand might help him with the latter group more than with the tea party. Low-information primary voters who know him from his endless cable news appearances might recognize him and pay Ron a little extra attention because of it.

Incidentally, Reuters is now covering Ron’s old newsletters with a special focus on the “race war” passages. Sample quote: “When asked whether that meant Paul believed there was a government conspiracy to cover up the impact of AIDS, [Paul Iowa chair Drew] Ivers said, ‘I don’t think he embraces that.'” Whew! Can’t imagine that Rand, whose career is blooming, wants to have to deal with questions about this either, but maybe he thinks it’s a price worth paying as Ron piles up delegates and maybe blazes a path for him in 2016. Exit question: What if Ron decides to run third party? Does Rand endorse?