A few weeks back I had a good dialog with a PD semi-regular who I considered one of the saner Ron Paul supporters. He was unhappy with the fact that Paul no longer appeared on the list of horses on the GOP side.

The main reason for Paul’s disappearance was simply the fact that John McCain had clinched the nomination. No bias, no collusion, no conspiracy to blackball Ron Paul.

The race was over.

I did make a promise to post something about Ron Paul if I came across anything interesting, and that day has finally come. Time magazine published a very compelling article entitled “Why Ron Paul scares the GOP”.

There was one particular paragraph that stuck home for me:

The real significance of the Paul campaign is not the ubiquitous bumper stickers and lawn signs or the online fund-raising records ($6 million in one day, plus another $4 million, hilariously, on Guy Fawkes Day) but the mirror Paul held up to the modern Republican Party. When his fellow candidates denounced big government, Paul was there to remind them that President Bush and the G.O.P. Congress had shattered spending records and exploded the deficit. When they hailed freedom, Paul asked why they all supported the Patriot Act and other expansions of executive power. And when they called themselves conservatives, Paul asked what was so conservative about sending thousands of young Americans to try to transform the Middle East.

This is the Ron Paul I like, the one I could see myself voting for. The other side of the coin is some of the more goofy ideas that scare people off. Here’s the flip side:

Paul’s supporters aren’t all black-helicopter paranoiacs, but the black-helicopter paranoiacs sure do support Ron Paul. The controversy over a few racist articles in his old newsletters was probably overblown; there’s no evidence that Paul himself was ever a racist. But he is an extremist — partly in the Barry Goldwater extremism-in-defense-of-liberty-is-no-vice sense of the word, but also in the wacky let’s-relitigate-the-currency-debates-of-the-1820s sense of the word. The late William F. Buckley wanted conservatives to stand athwart history yelling stop; Paul seems to want to slam history into reverse. The guy genuinely wants to abolish the Federal Reserve and start circulating gold again.

So Ron continues to run, and run, and run. He’s the Forrest Gump of politics.

But that’s fine by me if his doing so brings some fiscal sanity back to the GOP.