A reader writes:
Been following your coverage of Paul with great interest. I just wanted to add a note of perspective. I grew up in Highlands, Texas, on the gulf coast very near the northern boundary of his congressional district (TX 14). In the 1980s, during his first run in congress, Paul was widely regarded, and not just by Democrats, as an eccentric, to put it mildly. Weirdly, principled, though. But more importantly, in light of the present debate, he was regarded as the most extreme of right-wingers.
When I was working in Democratic politics in Austin in the mid-80s, we'd just shake our heads at Ron Paul and his gold standard, etc., and think Whew, guy's an extremist. And looking back, he was certainly the most conservative member of the Texas delegation, even then a conservative delegation. Well, that delegation has changed manifestly. To a number, the rest of the Republicans in the Texas delegation are now far to the right of Paul. They've changed, reflecting the rightward slide of the politics in America in the past 25 years. Ron Paul has remained the same, still weirdly principled (in that it's now kind of weird to be principled) a time capsule for what American conservatism used to look like.
I think the GOP has just adjusted to being the party of Dixie.