This week hasn’t been a good week for Rand Paul because he’s backtracked on a bunch of statements. Sen. Paul’s supporters are spinning it that he isn’t a polished politician:

After Rand Paul said GOP defense hawks had “created” ISIS, he told Sean Hannity: “I think I could have stated it better.” When he claimed some of his adversaries were “secretly” hoping for a terrorist attack so they could blame him for shutting down the PATRIOT Act, the next day he admitted that “hyperbole” got the better of him “in the heat of battle.” And when Paul quipped that he was “glad” his train didn’t stop in Baltimore in the wake of riots there, he later offered “regret” that his comments were “misinterpreted.”

As Paul has sought to stand out from the clustered GOP presidential field, he’s finding that his freewheeling, off-the-cuff speaking style can cut both ways. His supporters say it’s what’s refreshing about him: He’s not a typical programmed pol who spews the same talking points over and over; there’s an authenticity that’s rare in today’s poll-driven politics, they say.

While it’s clear that he isn’t the conspiracy theorist that his father’s been, it’s equally clear that he’s a bit paranoid. Accusing fellow senators and Republicans of wanting a terrorist attack so that they can blame him for it is either proof that he’s paranoid or it’s proof that he’s into shooting his mouth off. Saying that Republican hawks created ISIS is just historically inaccurate.

In both instances, he’s been reckless.

Americans don’t have to agree with their presidents 100% of the time but they won’t tolerate a president that they think is reckless. That’s because reckless people don’t control situations. Situations control them.

“People have to choose what they want,” he told POLITICO this week. “If they want robots, who say the same thing over and over again, there are plenty of them. If they want something more genuine, where everything is not always perfect — we’ll see what people want. I am who I am.”

The fact that he’s maintained the same core supporters that his father got indicates that the voters who’ve sized him up aren’t buying what he’s selling. Sen. Paul isn’t polished but he isn’t foolish, either. There’s little question that he knows he’ll never be president.

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