What Paul spoke about on the stump was mostly the size of the deficit, his desire for a balanced budget and term limits, and his belief that a lot of what Congress does has no basis in the Constitution. Paul's favorite example was health care, not civil rights. But the interesting thing to me, as I wrote on Monday, is that he took care to emphasize those parts of the Tea Party agenda that appeal (he claimed) to independents and moderates. There was no talk of race, civil rights, secession, birtherism and general Fox News lunacy.
I would say this is more or less the conventional wisdom on the gaffe-prone week Rand Paul has just had. And if the Paul campaign's abrupt cancellation of his Meet the Press appearance is any indication, his handlers are buying into it too.
But I think they're wrong. They are forgetting that this isn't a normal state we're talking about: this is Kentucky. Their idea of an effective senator is Mitch McConnell, though they suspect he might be a bit too liberal.
I suspect Rand Paul's contempt for the 1964 Civil Rights Act and his sympathy for the corporate hooligans at BP fall well within the mainstream of his fellow Kentuckians.
I don't believe this will hurt him in the polls; if anything, he'll get a bump. And end up winning by double digits this fall.