Is Ron Paul crazy or the last true conservative?

I like Ron Paul. The Texas congressman is often described as “cranky” or even “nuts.” But because he has no chance of winning and therefore nothing to lose, he is providing some refreshing truth-telling in the GOP presidential debates.
At times Tuesday night, he sounded like the only sane, honest person on the stage — and the only real conservative. Paul invoked conservative icons such as Robert Taft to argue that the party’s conservative roots lie in a noninterventionist foreign policy and small federal government.
He was the only one to pledge to abolish federal agencies — three of them! — Homeland Security, Education and Transportation.
He reminded everyone that candidate George W. Bush promised America wouldn’t be the world’s policeman or engage in foolish nation-building projects. Remember?
He noted that conservative hero Ronald Reagan had the good sense to get our troops out of Lebanon when he realized that Middle East politics were, well, crazy.
His most impolitic comment of the night was to argue that the Sept. 11 terrorists attacked America because of our foreign policy interventions in the Middle East. His point was awkwardly expressed, implying American guilt — a no-no. But he was correct that it was the presence of U.S. bases in Saudi Arabia that enraged Osama bin Laden and set him on the path of jihad, as amply documented in the Sept. 11 commission’s report.
Other candidates and party officials have been quick to attack Paul and suggest he should drop out. Even that he might be cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.
But he said things that some Republicans didn’t want to hear but needed to, if they’re serious about debating the future of their party and conservatism.
And I think his honesty is striking a chord with many viewers. He came in a close second in the Fox News post-debate poll — and won outright in the MSNBC phone poll after the first GOP debate.
What did you think of his performance, bloggers?
Posted by Randy Scholfield