People are saying that the Republican Primary is now at a whole new level and proof of that to me is what we saw during the debate Thursday night. Ron Paul's sputtering and muttering captured some attention and a few positive lines of press in the South Carolina debate earlier this year but Thursday night he just looked small and continued to shrink every time he spoke.
I know there are Paul-iaks/Paulistas/Ronulins out there (used to work with one of them) that are holding out hope that this is the year for their guy to win the Republican primary. First and foremost, Ron Paul is not a Republican. He is a Libertarian and that is a zebra of a different stripe.
Set aside the fact that most of his answers are far too wonky for most voters to get excited about them. In U.S. elections over the last two centuries the winners are able to encapsulate their platforms in a few pithy campaign slogans. Any idea coming from Ron Paul requires a college degree, a 15-page thesis and a liberal dose of footnotes and other reference material to really understand.
Set aside the fact that he's about as eloquent as a Mister Magoo on Novacaine. A recipe for abject failure in a debate against Obama.
Set aside the fact that he says things like "bad scene" which makes him sound like he time-traveled out of the 70's (from his first Congressional term - ironic for a guy proposing term limits). Set aside that his "thin silver dime" reference to illustrate some point about monetary policy made him sound like a homeless loon, off his meds accosting someone at a bus stop.
Set all that aside and then look down at the incredible shrinking man; the man who looks less and less presidential, the only one on stage on Thursday who was taking the NBC bait and going after his fellow Republicans without hesitation and with a little too much zeal; take a look down at that isolationist Lilliputian and ask him how he'd run the country and it would sound an awful lot like we'd be living in log cabins wearing tri-corner hats and carrying muskets to hunt for food in the vast absence of supermarkets.
So all of the Ronulins need to go back to their Revolutionary War reenactments and stop flash mobbing the non-scientific polls with your overenthusiastic votes for Paul, thinking you are going to attract enough Republicans to your cause. The longer Paul stands on stage, the taller he makes the rest of the real candidates appear. Eventually this sideshow distraction must go because he doesn't appear to be embodying the one absolute fact of this primary so eloquently articulated by Newt Gingrich when he said,
"I for one, and I hope all of my friends up here, are going to repudiate every effort of the news media to get Republicans to fight each other to protect Barack Obama who deserves to be defeated. And all of us are committed as a team, whoever the nominee is, we are all for defeating Barack Obama."