Daniel Doherty
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I know it’s only 2013, but I just can’t help myself. Appearing on “The Andrea Tantaros Show with Jason Mattera,” Kentucky Senator Rand Paul said -- in effect -- that he isn’t opposed to the idea of running for president in 2016. Fast forward to the 13:00 minute mark to hear the exchange (via The Washington Examiner):

“I haven’t said no [and] I haven’t said yes. [But] we are going to have to have somebody a little bit different than we’ve had in the past. Someone who can appeal to people in New England and on the West Coast. Someone who has a little more of a libertarian-Republican approach, I think, would have a better chance with independents and moderates.”

Some speculate that the only reason retired Texas Congressman Ron Paul (Rand Paul’s father) didn’t make a third party run for president in 2012 was because he feared he would jeopardize his son’s political future. This is a reasonable assumption. Indeed, the Paulians are a small but influential faction in the Republican Party -- and thus if Ron Paul ran, say, as a Libertarian candidate in the general election -- it’s fair to assume Governor Romney would have lost by an even greater electoral margin. Many Republicans perhaps would have incorrectly attributed the GOP’s stunning loss -- at least in part -- to Ron Paul’s perceived opportunism, even though in terms of the eventual outcome his candidacy would have been a non-factor. In short, it’s probably a good idea Dr. Paul withdrew from the race when he did, at least as far as the libertarian platform and his son’s political future are concerned.

At any rate, it’s worth noting that Senator Paul was one of only five Republican lawmakers in the upper chamber who voted against the ineffectual and -- in many ways -- disappointing “fiscal cliff” compromise last week. And since I suspect many conservative voters in the early primary states have rather long memories -- his principled “Libertarian-Republican” approach to governance will only benefit his candidacy down the road. As a limited government, pro-markets conservative, I believe Rand Paul could appeal to liberty-loving moderates and independents all across the nation -- from New Hampshire to New Mexico -- despite the fact he is an avowed Tea Party supporter.

But the question is: will he carry his father’s torch and actually run? For what it’s worth, I believe he will. But we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

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Daniel Doherty

Daniel Doherty is Townhall's Deputy News Editor. Follow him on Twitter @danpdoherty.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography