Ken Connor

The GOP primary process has been chaotic, resulting in ups and downs for candidates and voters alike. Dreams were dashed when Mitch Daniels, then Sarah Palin, then Chris Christie announced their intentions to sit this one out. Mitt Romney emerged as the establishment favorite early on, but failed to – and still fails to – excite the Republican base. The grassroots desire for a popular hero gave rise to the overnight ascendancy of Michelle, then Rick, then Herman. Each of these candidates has experienced the dizzying highs of front runner status only to suffer the depressing doldrums of plummeting poll numbers.

If past is prologue, then Newt Gingrich's star will also soon begin to fade. Already the media and Newt's opponents are sharpening their long knives. Stories about his infidelity, his rank opportunism, and his volatile temperament have long been legendary in Washington and are now emerging on front pages and newsfeeds in tabloid-like fashion. The tongues of the chattering class are wagging and the pundits are pontificating about how soon it will be before Newt engages in some spectacular act of self immolation. Only time will tell if they are right, but if they are, then who stands to capitalize from his demise?

If fundraising and organization are any indication, that person could very well be Ron Paul.

Evoking an image of the Tortoise and the Hare or the Little Engine that Could, Paul is neither flashy nor fancy. He does not pander or preen, and it is unlikely that his sex life will become a topic of public conversation. With Paul, what you see is what you get: steady, predictable, plain spoken... vanilla. He is above all a humble, self-effacing candidate who maintains a consistent and constant focus on the issues, not himself. He doesn't thump his chest or have an exaggerated sense of self-importance. He has a coherent and consistent world view, and his philosophy of government is strikingly simple: He thinks we should be governed by the Constitution. Following the path where his largely libertarian logic takes him, he believes that the ever burgeoning federal government should be pared back dramatically so that the people and the states can exercise the degree of self-government envisioned by our forefathers. He thinks the U.S. is overextended economically and militarily and has a concrete vision for correcting the problems on both fronts.

Ken Connor

Ken Connor is Chairman of the Center for a Just Society in Washington, DC.