I noted yesterday that Mike Huckabee seemed to me to be the only Republican in touch with the mood of the country. I should have added Ron Paul to that list. Paul, to his credit, talks about the existence of problems in the economy and sells himself as a person who would implement policies to alleviate ordinary people's economic situation.

When I first heard anecdotal evidence and then saw some Iowa entrance poll data that indicated that some folks are backing Paul on economic grounds, I was a bit mystified. But as with Huckabee, it goes back to the vacuousness and weirdness of the mainstream campaigns. Paul gets up there onstage and suggests that fiat money is the cause of high oil prices because we're devaluing our currency. This is flat-out wrong and suggests a strange ignorance on the part of a monetary policy obsessive (to make a long story short, there's a reason we distinguish between "real" and "nominal" prices and the "real" ones are the real ones that matter; meanwhile, international oil transactions are conducted in dollars anyway). But for that matter, he also thinks the gold standard would reign in health care inflation.

It's all hollow and absurd, even more so than Huckabee's populist case for a 30 percent national retail sales tax that he'll pretend is only a 23 percent tax. But the point is that both Paul and Huckabee try to connect to people feeling economic pain while Rudy McRomney seem to be living on a weird planet where none of these problems exist. Certainly, they don't deign to try to expose Paul and Huckabee as selling snake oil and propose something more constructive; they're just ignoring it.