Some politicians are so egocentric that they want us to want what they want.

This is not true of Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulPaul to Saudi government: 'It takes a lot of damn gall' to lecture US Congress raises pressure on Saudi Arabia The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump says he is cutting foreign aid over caravan | Lawmakers point fingers at Saudi crown prince | DNC chair downplays 'blue wave' talk MORE (R-Ky.) who announced his presidential quest last week. He wants to talk us into wanting what he wants.


Unlike Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzTrump recounts 2016 feud with Cruz at Houston campaign rally Trump says he’s made up with ‘Beautiful Ted’ Cruz The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump says he is cutting foreign aid over caravan | Lawmakers point fingers at Saudi crown prince | DNC chair downplays 'blue wave' talk MORE (R-Texas), Rand Paul has a sense of humor about himself. He has an enthusiasm for debate, ready to push his points. He is eager to rebut.

His style is described as “authentic” and “refreshing” — two adjectives all candidates hope to see attached to their names. Rand’s negatives are that he is trapped by his ideology, he gets agitated and defensive when the world “reality” is thrown at him, and he cuts competitors too deeply. Good Rand is engaging; Bad Rand is combative.

I wonder if he takes advice. If so, pass this column along to him.

On his good and bad days, Rand sounds professorial and self-absorbed, not a positive after eight years of a law professor president. You might know that, but do you know why? 

Rand labors under the false impression that assembling “a killer set of issues” is going to win the election for him, as if by grabbing enough auto parts he can finally assemble his dream car in the family garage. 

“Issues” in a campaign are “for instances” through which the voting public judges each candidate, on a gut level, to determine, “Who is this person?” Voters, subliminally, weigh actions and reactions. Candidates have to have positions; they attract attention, donors, and volunteers. It helps greatly if a candidate’s positions are heartfelt but “issues” are not the engine of the next president. They are cup holders. 

However, some issues are brakes. For instance, Rand pledges, “on day one” that he will end the National Security Agency’s “illegal spying” on American citizens. The Libertarian publication Reason noted that he said this “…while clutching the Bill of Rights in one hand and the Constitution in the other.” (Golly, does Rand know the Bill of Rights comprises the first ten amendments to the Constitution?) 

This issue is a bigger sinkhole than pledging to close Guantanamo Bay. Closing Gitmo means releasing a finite set of terrorists. Closing the NSA program means turning off the monitors on hundreds of thousands of potential threats per minute. 

Candidates can promise us anything, but presidents have to govern. Rand is convinced of his righteousness against NSA’s “illegal spying” and wants us to agree. The majority of Republican primary voters will not like it, or the way he brandishes it, like a sword.  

Kids on campus love it. The ones at home, paying the tuition, will worry. “How are you going to watch the bad guys? How are you going to protect my family?” Does Rand have an answer? (Hint: it ain’t “Audit the Fed.”) 

Apart from the merits and demerits of that issue, it subtracts more votes than it adds. You're not a professor. You don't grade the voters. They grade you.  

Rand Paul touched a lot of issues — far too many — when he announced. Nowhere in all his clutter was a short, convincing message on boosting the economy. 

I suspect Rand Paul believes that he will be part of the 2016 final four Republican candidates, along with Jeb Bush, Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioCongress raises pressure on Saudi Arabia Rubio: Khashoggi killing was ‘disrespectful to Trump’ O'Rourke's rise raises hopes for Texas Dems down ballot MORE (Fla.), and Gov. Scott Walker (Wis.).

He will make the debates far more interesting than they would be without him. I’m looking forward to watching Good Rand perform. I do hope he retires Bad Rand.

Voters, though, are not looking for “interesting.” They are looking for competence, someone who is the best vehicle to create more jobs and make a safer world.

Boland is the founder and president of Dome Advisors LLC.