The fight over Ron Paul isn’t a battle for the soul of the Republican Party so much as for its standards. Throughout his career, Paul hasn’t been able to distinguish between fringy cranks and aboveboard purists. He has taken a principled anti-government position and associated it with loons and bigots.
It may be the ultimate commentary on the weakness of this Republican field that it hasn’t even been able to produce a respectable out-there libertarian.
Paul can be a winsome figure in his irritable, absent-minded-professor way. Invariably wearing a suit jacket that looks a size or two too big, he has stood out in the debates for his knowledge and for his entirely consistent worldview applied to any problem, politics be damned…
Iowa caucus-goers are protective of their pre-eminent place in the nominating process. If they deliver victory to a history-making Ron Paul, no one should take them as seriously again.