Third in Iowa, second in New Hampshire.
The story of this election season is unquestionably Ron Paul. Paul has routinely been doubling, if not tripling (as he did in New Hampshire) his vote share from 2008.
This means his ideas are taking hold.
As Pat Buchanan suggested today in his column for The American Conservative, Paul has the donor base and intestinal fortitude to contest every Republican primary as rivals like Jon Huntsman and Rick Perry drop out. Unlike say, Newt Gingrich, Paul won't run a scorched-earth campaign to destroy Mitt Romney, even if he's set up to take on Romney one-on-one. Instead, he'll likely continue to stump as the happy warrior, pushing his ideas even as mainstream "conservatives" race to denounce them as "isolationist" or "kooky."
The reality is that, on deficits, entitlements, executive power, excessive overseas adventurism, and yes, the Federal Reserve, Paul has been a prophet of doom.
One of the beautiful things about the Paul campaign is that it lays bare the fallacies of not just modern liberalism, but what nowadays passes for American conservatism. Paul crystallizes the very best of the party of Goldwater and Reagan -- economic liberty, free markets, upward mobility, respect for the unborn -- but also rejects the statism has passed for conservatism in the post-Reagan area. His ideology demands absolute fidelity to the Constitution, rejecting the aggregation of executive power, unconstitutional (and frankly, unconservative) adventurism overseas, civil liberties violations and the draconian, destructive war on drugs. Paul rightly does not limit his critique of the imperial federal government to Obamacare or the NLRB or massive deficits, but rightly excoriates his fellow Republicans for creating an unconstitutional big-government behemoth in the form of the National Security Apparatus, fed by the military-industrial complex.
It is these contradictions that have made it so hard for me to embrace someone like George W. Bush or Mitt Romney. The fact that Ron Paul is not only on the scene, but more popular than ever and becoming a respected elder statesman before our very eyes, is a beautiful thing for liberty.