Paul’s year had its missteps, including a plagiarism flap and an aide unmasked for neo-confederate sympathies. But the stumbles were outnumbered by his successes, beginning with a 13-hour drone filibuster that tapped into rising bipartisan anxiety over government surveillance. Paul forged a partnership with fellow Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell that bestowed establishment credibility, edged away from some of the unpalatable elements of non-interventionist foreign policy, and made a series of speeches to court minority voters. And he managed to cement his conservative bona fides while dodging the blowback for the government shutdown.
Biggest Political Winners of 2013