The libertarian congressman and his followers have become a familiar feature of Republican events
It was a typical Ron Paul speech at Saturday's Values Voter Summit: rambling, didactic, full of obscure references -- and rapturously received by his fans.
The Paul people had caravanned to the event and packed into the ballroom, as they always do. They didn't so much hang on his every word as wait for him to pause so they could chant "End the Fed!"
Once upon a time -- say, four years ago -- this might have been remarkable. But the Paul people's M.O. has become a familiar, tolerated feature of Republican gatherings. They show up, they vote in straw polls, they grumble about the media conspiracy to ignore them, they leave.
Paul, an obstetrician, began by talking about delivering babies. He went on to tell a story from the Bible that he said warned against big government. "Samuel warned that the king would want to make servants of the people. He even talked about taxes going up," Paul said.
Then it was off to the "breakdown of our monetary situation," for which Paul also found a biblical basis. "Even in biblical times, they weren't looking for a central bank that was going to counterfeit our currency," he said. Cue the "End the Fed!" chants.