THE BLOG
07/16/2013 10:19 am ET Updated Sep 15, 2013

On the High Wire in the Not-Center Ring

Last week, Howard Fineman wrote in an article for the Huffington Post about the dilemma that Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) faces. In his desire to be President of the United States, Paul is "toggling between pure tea party libertarianism and carefully calibrated appeals to the GOP establishment that he ran against in 2010, but now needs to pacify, impress or, at the very least, reassure."

The difficulty he faces, of course, is the eternal "Trying to please two masters" conundrum. In this case, it's whether to be far right -- or far, far right. O my, what a quandary.

Mind you, in today's GOP, that is a quandary. The members of the tea party corporations are so lock-step inflexible that if you deviate one hair's breadth from their radical, ultra-conservative philosophy, they'll go after you like a crazed, scorned lover. They're already so upset with Rand Paul's own senior Kentucky senator, the freaking Minority Leader of the Senate, Mitch McConnell, a man with great power and deeply conservative, but not wrenchingly conservative enough that his popularity has dropped so low it's forced him even more to the right, something most sentient humans didn't think possible.

But if he sticks with his Tea Time base -- also known as the equally eternal "You leave the dance with who brung ya" gambit -- he doesn't stand a chance in a party desperate to win the White House again, knowing that you can't run with a person heading your ticket viewed even by today's GOP standards as crazy, racist and heartless.

Further complicating this for Sen. Paul is that even if he somehow tries to create a compromise in his position, he's in a party that sees compromise as acquiescence and defeat. Look at how Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) has been torn apart by the far right for daring to even suggest there's the line that exists for immigration reform. And this is known by its own additionally eternal "Damned if you do, and damned if you don't" enigma, augmented by the codicil, "And damned if you even think of trying."

So, Rand Paul is sort of stuck.

The heart, of course, weeps for him.

Because, in the end, he's guided by one of the most eternal realities of all -- the "You lie in the bed you made" theorem.

The only reason Rand Paul -- a previously unknown, inexperienced, unlicensed eye doctor -- is bizarrely even in the discussion of being a Republican Party nominee for president, is because a) the GOP is so empty of serious candidates, and b) he's climbed on the shoulders of the tea party corporation members in order to be seen.

And he did that for attention, and seemingly because ultimately that's the core of Rand Paul. Which turns out to be of the ever eternal Popeye axiom, that is likely the hardest of all to avoid. "I yam what I yam."

On the other hand, perhaps he can simply deny everything he's ever stood for and hope that no one notices. It worked so well for Mitt Romney.

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