Ron’s discussion of a probable run and Rand’s recent dalliance—and seemingly inevitable future bid—offer a vivid preview of the future: the Pauls, to the consternation of some in their Republican Party, are here to stay.

With Rand’s higher-profile platform, better-polished presentation and similar adherence to the small-government ideals that animate his father, it seems likely that a Paul will be participating in presidential debates, winning straw polls and helping to shape the party’s debate for years, perhaps even decades, to come…

“He comes across as more mainstream, at least in appearance,” said Rep. Paul. “And I think he’ll be a better legislator – he’ll offer amendments, get bills passed. I’m not a good legislator.”…

“He’s the only United States senator I’ve ever seen here who treats representing the state as a secondary matter,” said longtime Kentucky political reporter Al Cross. “But people knew what Rand Paul was when they elected him.