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Rand Paul goes through the motions

It was, to put it mildly, a crowded media landscape last night.

It was, to put it mildly, a crowded media landscape last night. President Obama's State of the Union address was obviously the big story, but there was also quite a bit of interest in Sen. Marco Rubio's Republican response, the developments in California surrounding Christopher Dorner, and for some reporters on Capitol Hill, Ted Nugent's thoughts on the evening.

That left Sen. Rand Paul, delivering the third annual "Tea Party" response to the SOTU, as the odd man out. That was generally good news for Republicans, who didn't want the distraction in the first place, but bad news for the junior senator from Kentucky.

If you ignored -- or more likely, forgot about -- Paul's speech, I'm afraid you didn't miss much.

"We are in danger, though, of forgetting what made us great. The president seems to think the country can continue to borrow $50,000 per second. The president believes that we should just squeeze more money out of those who are working.... Ronald Reagan said, government is not the answer to the problem, government is the problem. Tonight, the president told the nation he disagrees. President Obama believes government is the solution: More government, more taxes, more debt."

Hmm. Reagan increased government spending, raised taxes seven of the eight years he was in office, and nearly tripled the national debt. He's Rand Paul's point of comparison when it comes to fiscal restraint?

Paul added that one of the great things about the United States is that everyone is "guaranteed a chance to succeed based not on who your parents were but on your own initiative and desire to work" -- said the self-accredited ophthalmologist who got elected because of his famous father.

The entire speech was a poorly delivered, predictable mess. Paul wants to eliminate nearly all public investments, change the Constitution to make deficits impossible, impose term limits, cut foreign aid, and privatize education. He's convinced the job market will flourish just as soon as corporations get another big tax cut.

Paul's entire pitch was just tired, more likely to generate eye-rolling than outrage. The speech effectively served as the opposite of its intended goal -- it made the Tea Party "movement," such as it is, seem stale and unnecessary.