The Wall Street Journal's Elizabeth Williamson has a piece out that looks at how (and a bit at whether) Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) is the standard bearer for libertarianism. Some quotes from familiar mouths:
"His influence is far larger than the votes that he gets," says Nick Gillespie, the editor of Reason.com, the online edition of libertarian Reason magazine. "No politician has been more important in mainstreaming the libertarian idea that individuals should have more power and the government should have less[.]" [...]
David Boaz of the libertarian Cato Institute calls Mr. Paul an "imperfect messenger," supported by only about half of the consistent U.S. libertarians identified in a recent Cato study. Take Mr. Paul's views on trade: he supports "free trade," but didn't vote for the South Korea, Colombia and Panama agreements passed by the House this week, having called such deals "managed trade."
"A nice idea in theory, but you can't let purism get in the way of legitimately freeing trade," says Mr. Boaz.
Yet, he says, "on the big issues—small government, less government spending, sound money and a non-interventionist foreign policy, he's a good standard-bearer." [...]
"The ultimate end game is to see Rand Paul run in 2016," says Reason's Mr. Welch, referring to Mr. Paul's son, elected to the Senate from Kentucky in 2010. "Rand won't probably ever inspire the intense devotion and loyalty that Ron Paul does, but people like him, and he has won a general election."