The Texas Republican has shifted his party's debate on the domestic front. But will anyone follow him on war and security?
Four years ago, Ron Paul was the Chicken Little of the Republican Party.
In 2007, he warned of an impending financial crisis, an imperious Federal Reserve, and a tyrannical federal government. Few voters and virtually no leaders listened to him.
Then the sky fell.
After the crash, Paul's doomsday predictions got a second look. As House Republicans began to side with his beliefs, the libertarian from Texas stopped seeming as out of step with the mainstream of his party. Half of House Republicans voted against the bank bailout in 2008 and all of them voted against the stimulus bill in 2009. By 2010, every single one was ready to sign on to cosponsor a bill Paul introduced to audit the Fed.
For years, Paul also argued that America's wars were ineffective and economically draining. Republicans didn't listen before -- but that was before debt reduction became the cause of the day and Osama bin Laden was killed.
"National building in Afghanistan hardly had anything to do about finding information about where [bin Laden] was being held," Paul said last week's GOP debate, adding it's time to "reassess" getting out.