Rand Paul's problem: Self-inflicted wounds

Paul was one of a handful of Republicans who got burned by Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher who flamed out after wondering out loud whether African-Americans were better off under slavery. He never actually praised Bundy, and he condemned Bundy’s statements as soon as they were reported. But he did express sympathy with Bundy and his supporters’ battle with the Bureau of Land Management — calling it “a real … intellectual and constitutional and legal debate” — when most other Republicans didn’t take the bait and avoided commenting at all. …

And there have been other incidents that have gotten him in trouble. He went from annoying GOP national security hawks with his warnings about drones to disappointing some supporters by suggesting they could be used against liquor store robbers. And last year Paul had to promise to be more careful after a series of speeches used language that appeared to be borrowed from other sources without citing them. …

“Sen. Rand Paul’s message to the Republican Party is to adapt, evolve or die. It is unfortunate that some political analysts will use Sen. Paul’s efforts to grow our party as an excuse to lob outdated criticisms,” said spokesman Sergio Gor. “Sen. Paul should be judged by his engagement of all groups and his message of growth, not old recycled accusations that distract from Sen. Paul’s message of inclusion.”