(WHAS11 Political Blog) -- While some casual observors mocked the news significance of Rand Paul's endorsement of Mitt Romney (Shocking!), political analysts are explaining the consequences, both immediate and potential.
Though Romney has enough delegates on his own, the messages sent by Republican primary rival Ron Paul (be polite at the convention) and Rand Paul (Governor Romney is right there with us), address the nagging narrative of the contemporary Republican Party, that the GOP is split between Tea Partiers and the establishment.
The potential distraction of a dissatisfied and unenthusiastic right wing base is mitigated by Paul's move.
It remains to be seen if Rand Paul's endorsement will sway the Tea Party faithful. The man who managed his GOP primary campaign in 2010, David Adams, told WHAS11 "It doesn't matter what Rand Paul says, it doesn't matter what any individual says."
Adams says it's "fine" that Paul followed through on a pledge to endorse the GOP nominee, yet "does mean that everybody in the movement goes lockstep in that same direction? Not a chance."
The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza writes that the endorsement is more important than it might seem at first glance both now and in the future:
Rand’s endorsement then — when coupled with Ron’s email to supporters earlier this week urging politeness at the national convention — are a net win for Romney because they virtually ensure that there won’t be a genuine insurrection led by supporters of Paul at the convention.
Cillizza ays it’s "an open secret in Washington that Rand Paul wants to — and will — run for president either in 2016 or 2020."
To do that and have a genuine chance at winning, Rand Paul can’t have the Republican establishment in open revolt against him. He knows that. His dad knows that. (It’s why we still believe Ron Paul won’t pursue a third party bid this fall.)
In making clear that he is publicly behind Romney, Rand Paul is sending a very clear signal: I’m a good soldier for the GOP.
Conversely, as the Atlantic's John Hudson writes, the endorsement (Sell out!) "is igniting a fury of rage from his father's hardcore fan base."
On both forums, the tide of incredulous—and highly personal—comments continued ad nauseam. With Ron Paul's diehard supporters being one of his most formidable assets, especially when it comes to winning straw polls or online money bomb fundraisers, you've got to wonder if Rand Paul risks jeopardizing the family brand.