Ken Connor

While Paul's refusal to play the game of politics as usual precludes a warm embrace by Republican blue bloods, he is remarkably well-financed (having raised over $12 million from mostly small donors) and has a devoted band of followers. As a recent Politico article explains, he also has a shrewd game plan:

The Texas congressman's long-haul approach is designed to take advantage of new GOP proportional allocation rules that enable candidates to amass delegates without finishing in first place, and to leverage the unique attributes of his campaign ? an intensely loyal following and a steady flow of money that will likely enable him to continue for as long as he chooses.

Paul has already put teams in place in 12 caucus states through March 6, when about a dozen Republican primaries and caucuses will take place. On Wednesday, the campaign announced five office openings: Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, North Dakota and Washington.

Whether or not this long-term strategy for success will bear fruit remains to be seen, but the beltway talking heads are beginning to recognize that it would be folly to dismiss Paul this early in the game. The polls are bearing this out. Having indulged themselves on everything from vichyssoise to bananas foster, it may well be that American conservatives are finally ready to cast their vote for plain 'ole vanilla.

Ken Connor

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