Rand Paul will be a major player in 2016

“The filibuster is the single largest leap I can recall from one act,” said Dave Carney, a New Hampshire-based GOP strategist who served as a senior adviser for Rick Perry’s 2012 presidential bid. “The old guard’s gratuitous and meaningless tantrum attack the next day further solidified his sole position as leader of the new right.” (In the wake of the Paul filibuster, Arizona Sen. John McCain and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham defended the Obama administration’s stance on drones.)…

Paul has a showman’s sense of the moment, a rare and underrated ability in politics. “He is a PR machine who has an uncanny ability to galvanize the conservative base,” acknowledged one establishment Senate insider granted anonymity to speak candidly. (If you need evidence of that trait, look at how Paul kept chatter about the filibuster going; he did a series of television appearances and penned an op-ed explaining himself on the front page of The Post’s Outlook section Sunday.)

Perhaps the best way to explain Rand is through the lens of his father — former Texas congressman and three-time presidential candidate Ron Paul. What Ron demonstrated in his bids for the 2008 and 2012 Republican presidential is that there is a not-insubstantial constituency for a libertarian-tinged politics — heavy on distrust of the federal finance system and a wariness of foreign entanglements. What Ron’s campaigns also showed was that there was a fundraising vein to be mined among that community; Paul raised $35 million for his 2008 campaign and $41 million four years later, the vast majority of which came from online donations.