Business Insider with more on what people in and out of the Paul world have been guessing for a year or so now: that a Rand Paul presidential run in 2016 is seemingly in the works, with Rand visits to the vital early caucus state of Iowa.
And as I've noted elsewhere, Rand is showing a more sophisticated sense of needed alliance-building within the existing GOP culture and power structures than his father has shown:
Later this month Rand will return to Iowa — without his father — to deliver the keynote speech at the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalitions spring rally — the most obvious indication yet that Sen. Paul has his own presidential ambitions.
"He loves Iowa," Sen. Paul's communications director Moira Bagley told Business Insider. "He's been out there so much, with his dad's campaign, so he's really comfortable and really happy with the people out in Iowa, and especially the evangelical groups."
In fact, Sen. Paul's overture to Iowa's social conservatives is evidence of a budding romance between the Kentucky Republican and evangelical leaders, most of whom have never been particularly taken with the elder Paul.
Business Insider has learned that Sen. Paul has even been approached about a possible trip to Israel with Christian activist David Lane, a conservative kingmaker whose "Pastor Policy Briefings" helped launch Mike Huckabee's political star in 2008.
"Rand Paul is going to inherit his dad's political assets — he's going to be very formidable," Lane told Business Insider. "Structurally, there is something that is happening inside the state Republican parties that will have to be death with politically."
Lane added that the Paul message of fiscal conservatism and limited government dovetail with that of social conservatives, who increasingly see the federal debt as one of the country's biggest moral ills.
It's true and I've said it before--Christian conservatives should have been able to love Ron Paul more than they did, and I suspect for reasons of Rand's rhetorical skills, the rise of Paulite influence in the GOP and the truths of Paul's warnings about the costs of profligate government come home to roost, they will be more receptive to the Paul message in 2016 than they were in 2012.
Past Reason items on Rand Paul:
*Jim Antle on his Senate campaign from our May 2010 issue;
*Me from March on his surprising-to-some solidity on non-interventionist foreign policy.
My forthcoming book, Ron Paul's Revolution: The Man and the Movement He Inspired, discusses Rand as well.