By Brian Doherty
As increasing awareness of the inherently low quality of the rest of the prospective GOP presidential field seeps across the minds of the populace, Ron Paul continues to get strange new respect and even stranger refusals to acknowledge his existence.
A survey of some of the latest:
* The Nation's John Nichols gives Paul some love from the left:
the Texas congressman and maverick GOP presidential contender brings to the 2012 race a record far more worthy of commendation than those of his competitors for the Republican nomination.
Paul voted against the Patriot Act.
Paul voted against launching the Iraq War.
Paul has consistently supported moves to bring the troops home from Iraq, from Afghanistan and from just about everywhere else they are garrisoned.
Paul has worked with Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank on a campaign to cut the Pentagon budget by $1 trillion..
Paul has worked with Frank to decriminalize marijuana and to dial back the worst excesses of the drug war....
And , now, he has done something truly worthy of admiration. He has chosen not to be ridiculous.
Confronted with the prospect of a participating in a debate hosted by the second most absurd figure in American public life, Donald Trump, Paul simply said "no."
* NPR gives Paul a cutesy softball "five things you may not know about Ron Paul" piece, including that he's a good ball player and was a member of a fraternity. (It gets a little off by conflating Paul's federalism on vice issues with approval of bad prohibitions by states and localities that as a federal office holder he would merely allow, though admittedly Paul isn't quick to say the words "I don't think drugs should be prohibited under any circumstances."
* National Review has some on-the-ground reporting from Iowa, talking to many Paul campaign workers there, and concluding that "with January fast approaching, his team is ready to surprise the political world and sweep the Iowa caucuses." Paul is indeed second this week in a Des Moines Register poll.
* In the game of refusing to acknowledge Paul's existence, something that lots of GOP higher-ups are pobably nostalgic for now as Paul refuses to go away and gets stronger and stronger in a weak field, see this bizarre "Talking Points Memo" piece on libertarian dissatisfaction with Newt Gingrich that never once mentions the name Ron Paul, the most radically libertarian on domestic and foreign policy candidate we've seen in our lifetime.
* See, on Paul's libertrian radicalism, this nearly anarcho-capitalist take on the Elizabeth Warren "you get to keep some of your money because the government forces you to take what it chooses to give" meme, where Paul tells ABC News that "by the use of force government comes with a gun...the money had to come from productive effort...government created nothing, the only thing they can do is steal and rob people with a gun and forcibly transfer wealth":
* The Historical Ron Paul, predicting terror blowback against us for our interventionist policies, many examples pre-9/11:
* A bit of a reach, yes, but Obama's much-ballyhooed Kansas speech today seems almost designed to run against Ron Paul, with a desperate repetition of the standard "market-failure" line about what Paul would argue was a monetary policy and regulation-caused crash, and a frontal attack on not the actual policies of the Republican Party but on legal conditions before Teddy Roosevelt and the Progressive era, you know, that 19th century that Paul's foes accuse him of living in.