Ron Paul's Republican Refugees

Ezra makes a valuable point:

Paul's candidacy is an indictment of the system, not an argument for who would best administer it.

Peter Suderman asks:

What's the breakdown of issues that matter to his supporters, and after the campaign is over, are there lessons to be drawn for other candidates or issue-oriented groups? Why and how, in other words, did this unassuming country doctor - a man who, between his personality and his positions, is almost the antithesis of the modern American politician - become a political cult hero?

My suggestion: Paul's candidacy is a moment of protest from all those who once saw the GOP as their home and who have become enraged at what Bush and Rove have done to conservatism. So many of us feel like refugees - forced out of our homes by Christanist intolerance and neoconservative fanaticism. The Paul campaign is a refugee camp, pitched temporarily at the border of old-school conservatism, as we wait to see if our politics is really over in the Republican party, and whether a freedom agenda can still have a future in America.