Last May, Ron Paul filed his financial disclosure form, and The Wall Street Journal enlisted financial analyst William Bernstein to scrutinize his investments.
"Paul's portfolio isn't merely different," said an astonished Journal, "it's shockingly different."
Twenty-one percent of his $2.4 to $5.5 million was in real estate, 14 percent in cash. He owns no bonds. Only 0.1 percent is invested in stocks, and Paul bought these "short," betting the price will plunge. Every other nickel is sunk into gold and silver mining companies.
Bernstein "had never seen such an extreme bet on economic catastrophe," said the Journal.
"This portfolio," said Bernstein, "is a half step away from a cellar-full of canned goods and 9-millimeter rounds."
"You can say this for Ron Paul," conceded the Journal. "In investing as in politics, (Paul) has the courage of his convictions."
Indeed, he does. Paul's investments mirror his belief that the empire of debt is coming down and Western governments will never repay -- in dollars of the same value -- what they have borrowed.
And here we come to the reason Paul ran a strong third in Iowa and a clear second in New Hampshire. He is a conviction politician and, like Barry Goldwater and George McGovern, the candidate of a cause.
Aware it is unlikely he will ever be president, the 76-year-old soldiers on in the belief that this cause will one day triumph in a party where he was, not long ago, seen as an odd duck, but a party where today he speaks for a national constituency.
It is easy to understand why the young are attracted to him. There is a consistency here no other candidate can match.
Republicans may deplore the GOP Great Society of Bush 43. Paul stood almost alone in voting against every Bush measure. By two-to-one, Americans now believe the Iraq War was a mistake. Paul, alone among the candidates, opposed the war.
And because his campaign is about a cause larger than himself, it is a safe bet he will not quit this race until the last caucuses have met and the last primary has been held.
Prediction: Paul will go into the Tampa, Fla., convention with more delegates than any other candidate save the nominee of the party.
There is a gnawing fear in the GOP that Paul will quit the party when the primaries are over and run as a third-party candidate on the Libertarian or some other line in the November election.
Not going to happen. Such a decision would sunder the movement Paul has pulled together, bring about his own and his party's certain defeat in November, and re-elect Barack Obama.