The Ron Paul Effect

A reader writes:

It seems to me that anyone who looks at Ron Paul's fund-raising power and complains that his candidacy is not taken seriously is missing the point.  As a viable candidate for president Paul is a non-starter. As The Most Hated Man in the Republican Party, however, his value is immense.

Huckabee had his strongest moment to date when he tussled with Paul, and I'm sure the rest of the Republican field will be lining up to pick fights with him. Paul's greatest service in this election would be to force the Republican candidates to explicitly embrace the policies of George W. Bush in ways that they would have otherwise have avoided. There can be little inching towards the center if you risk being on the same side as Paul: The Most Hated Man in the Republican Party. At this rate, Ron Paul will have the resources to keep them in that box well into the primaries, tying themselves ever tighter to the anchor that is George W. Bush.