Sen. Rand Paul has been basking in the national media spotlight for weeks. Speech, filibuster, proclamation, screed, position paper, lights, camera, action. Not only talk radio, Fox News and the conservative spin machine, but the big-circulation newspapers, the network Sunday shows, the 24-hour talk channels and plenty of what the cynical right likes to call the "lamestream media" have been dutifully traipsing after Kentucky's junior senator, handicapping his national political chances for years ahead. So Paul's dismissive aside last week during a boilerplate speech to University of Kentucky students that the media "just aren't very smart" could be seen as an admission that a lot of airtime and ink have been wasted . . . on him. He's only partly right. Faux-firing Hillary Clinton or pretending the country's infrastructure needs could be fixed by cutting foreign aid may not deserve the amplification they got, but plenty of folks are interested in the voice of a new generation of Republican.

Of course, those folks, like the media, may not be very smart.