I have a post-mortem of Rand Paul's presidential campaign up over at CNN Opinion that begins with the observation that GOP voters are more fiscally conservative than their politicians, and ends with some observations about Paul's vanquisher, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). Here's how it ends:
Fellow tea party senator and Iowa winner Ted Cruz has been very effective so far this campaign in doing what Rand Paul could not: converting that visceral anti-Washington sentiment into support. For his fans, Cruz's long enemies list and off-putting demeanor are features, not bugs. Sadly for libertarians, that political canniness also involves blatant reversals on criminal justice reform, gratuitous calls to "carpet bomb" ISIS, and public vows to fight the alleged "crisis" of same-sex marriage.
Will Cruz pick up the banner of fiscal conservatism from his vanquished tea party opponent? He will most certainly try. Whether it can work, or whether he really means it, are different questions altogether.