Ron Paul is totally shaping the GOP primaries

The Tea Party, which drove the GOP to claim a majority of the House in the mid-term elections, grew largely out of the ashes of his 2008 presidential campaign, which emphasized limited government and a return to constitutional principles. Since then, the Tea Party has bullied the Republican leadership in the House to force budget cuts at the risk of shutting down the government and collectively become the most persistent critic of the Obama presidency on financial regulatory reform and health care.

The roots of all of this are in the libertarian mind of Rep. Paul.

At last week’s debate, put on by my other employer, Fox News Channel, I was struck by the libertarian flair the iconoclast injected into the evening. First, his presence along with another libertarian Republican — former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson — allowed for Republicans nationwide to witness a debate in which strong arguments for immediate U.S. withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan came from the right. But that was just the start. There are instances where Paul’s views make the Republican establishment want to scream.