Since no one was truly surprised by Hillary Clinton's fundraising take (She leads by 20 points and she outraised Obama? Cancel the election!), Ron Paul's millions are the political story of the week. Sometime Reasonoid Jeremy Lott re-introduces the candidate to Politico readers:
The congressman's sometimes hyperbolic rhetoric is important to attract a broad coalition of anti-war voters, libertarians, gold bugs, small-government Republicans and potheads.
The uncomfortable truth for both supporters and opponents is that Paul isn't nearly as "crazy" as he occasionally sounds.
David Mark (read his reason cover story on negative campaigning) talked to libertarians to see if they'd bought Dr. No Christmas ornaments yet:
David Boaz, executive vice president of the libertarian CATO Institute, said Paul's campaign is pulling in traditional Republicans disaffected with the GOP's federal spending binge during the six years it controlled Congress during George W. Bush's presidency. And while independent voters and even some Democrats may have contributed to Paul's totals, it demonstrates more of an anti-war sentiment among the Republican primary electorate than may have previously been thought.
"Everything that was wrong with the Republicans in 2006, Ron Paul is an answer to," Boaz said. "He clearly is reaching a national constituency."
Allahpundit fears a Paul third-party run (something the man has denied many times):
He's got the bread, he's got the messianism, and he's got plenty of antipathy towards the current Republican front-runner. It'll be verrrry interesting to see if evangelical leaders give him a look going forward as a possible protest vote against Rudy. His war stance probably makes it impossible but he's got all the right moves on abortion and the fact that he's an Ob/Gyn by trade can't hurt. Assuming evangelicals steer clear, can he still do enough damage to Rudy in the swing states to tilt them to Hillary? I'm thinking … yeah, sure. He appeals to the fringe of enough conservative subgroups that two or three percent isn't out of the question.
But the Paul people I talk to are really excited about opinion outside the blogs: The TV news reporters who are suddenly taking him seriously. ABC News, whose George Stephanopolous famously told him he'd "bet every cent" in his pocket that Paul would lose, tracked down Paul for an interview and ran a snippet in prime time.