In thinking about Rand Paul's rather striking win last night it seems that more is in store than anti-establishment fervor. While I haven't studied Paul II's positions a great deal, he seems to be a clue to some type of recovery within conservatism. Or maybe not. However, Paul is a physician, in a middle class town in the southern part of the state, practicing his profession, raising his family and then decided to contest for the GOP nomination. If a somewhat obscure physician can topple the KY Secretary of State endorsed by all the "right" conservatives, then perhaps a major rethinking not only of American conservatism but also of libertarianism is occurring. If a physician, as obscure as any other professional plying his trade, can win a Senate nomination of a major party, surely something is breaking upon us.
Perhaps more interesting is that his creditability held even after his views on projecting American power were publicized, which differ from most public conservatives. I'm wondering, however, how far Paul's war policy views are from other voices on the Right like Angelo Codevilla, a critic, similar in some ways to Paul. The victory was also in Kentucky, populated by the one of the most violent tribes of men to ever stalk the earth, the Scotch-Irish. In short, this is not a dovish bunch, unsure of American strength. Perhaps better than most, they sense the need for it be guarded and used only decisively with minimal application to grand progressive objectives like nation building and finding little Lockes in the desert.
If Paul wins in November, provided similar victories are achieved in other races around the country, it just might augur a correction to conservatism that it has not received since the loss in the 1998 elections and the turn the party made to Bush II and compassionate conservatism, i.e., European style Christian Democrat policies.
The implications for libertarianism seem striking as well. In short, Paul might be a clue to a libertarianisn that doesn't strive so much for autonomist liberty, but seeks recovery of vital American political traditions and habits. Comfortable with religion, understanding the foundations of the family to civilization, and yet decisively aware of the dangers posed by the progressive smart set and their federal bureaucracy to our constitution, Paulian liberatarians might be the subtle and powerful change within the coalition of conservatism.