The boldest senator

A senatorial peacock with a rust-colored crown, Mr. Paul stands out as someone who, at least for now, seems to be here less to make laws than points. His libertarian-leaning amendments — one would have made it harder for counterterrorism investigators to obtain firearms records and another would have relieved banks from their duty to report suspicious transactions — failed by wide margins, even among Republicans…

“I think there are victories and then there are symbolic victories,” Mr. Paul said in an interview Thursday. “And I think we had a symbolic victory here in the sense that we did get to talk about some of the constitutional principles of search and seizure and the Fourth Amendment.”

His role in the Senate, he said, is to “draw attention to some important questions that get shuffled aside,” he said, specifically constitutional questions that are of central importance to his libertarian base. “There aren’t many other people that seem to be asking” his sorts of questions.

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