Rand Paul's new mission: Helping out the GOP establishment

In the coming weeks, he’ll head to Kansas to support both Republican Sen. Pat Roberts and Gov. Sam Brownback, both of whom are struggling in the polls. He’ll also be making stops in Michigan, New Hampshire, Iowa, and Georgia for Republican candidates in those states. Next week, he’s headlining a Republican National Committee fundraiser in New York, followed immediately by a fundraiser for the National Republican Senatorial Committee in the suburbs of San Francisco. These are not exactly the gestures of someone on the outs with the “establishment.”

“I’m trying to help smooth things over,” he said. “We fight amongst ourselves in primaries … Democrats don’t agree with each other all the time. Yet they seem to somehow come together and quit fighting, and we need to do the same thing.”…

Besides the constant attention from Democrats, and the clear sense that Paul doesn’t always quite agree with the candidates he stumps for, the campaigning has a big, obvious upside: It means a lot to Republicans. Should he run for president in 2016 — and all indications are that he will — the work he’s doing now could pay off when he needs the favor returned.

“People don’t forget stuff like this,” said one Republican strategist who has been critical of Paul in the past. “His quick willingness to get on board will pay dividends down the line.”