According to Jason Zengerle’s recent GQ profile of Rand Paul, the U.S. Senate candidate had a private meeting on a recent trip to Washington:

“At a private office in Dupont Circle, he talked foreign policy with Bill Kristol, Dan Senor, and Tom Donnelly, three prominent neocons who’d been part of an effort to defeat him during the primary.”

Like Justin Raimondo, I am curious as to why Rand would bother to meet such people. They currently hold no office government. Kristol’s Weekly Standard magazine was worth peanuts on the open media market and all of their views and knowledge of foreign policy should have been utterly discredited after the debacle in Iraq. Why would a man presumably on a victory lap in his election feel the need to meet with people who have no discernible power, have been made to look like fools and who tried to keep him from getting nominated during the primary last spring? What’s next, a meeting with the leadership of the Kentucky chapter of the AFL-CIO in a Louisville parking garage?

Actually it’s not curiosity that’s the feeling, it’s dismay. Running as Tea Party candidate, presumably against politics as usual, Rand has engaged in the usual politics to the point where he’s becoming indistinguishable from his primary opponent Trey Grayson. This isn’t a question of running to the right and then back to the center for a general election, this is running as a populist and becoming an establishment tool in less than a half-year’s time. There’s no reason to meet with Kristol or Senor, especially after beating their efforts to defeat him, or reportedly say things like “I’m more reasonable than my father,” unless Rand is planning on ingratiating himself among the Powers that Be as he prepares for his new career. If that’s the case, it raises this question: If the Republican leadership in Congress or a Republican president really, really wanted something from Rand, would he give in even if it ran counter to his views? Judging by the conduct of his campaign, it’s a question Rand Paul supporters may not want to ask or know the answer to.