Over at Slate, Reason contributing editor Dave Weigel interviews former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson in honor of the latter's triumphant return to the Republican debates, after being shut out all summer, supposedly for polling too low.
The whole interview is worth a read (quick, too) but the best part is probably the last question:
Slate: Have you brainstormed any questions for your fellow candidates?
Johnson: I would ask Mitt Romney: "What is your position on anything?"
The rest of Johnson's answers led to Alex Pareene at Salon.com dubbing Johnson the most sensible GOP candidate for liberals and to scorn Texas Rep. Ron Paul a bit by comparison.
Meanwhile at the XX Factor, Libby Copeland is just excited that Paul seems to get under Texas Gov. Rick Perry's skin so much and that people are ignoring Rep. Michele Bachmann again.
And Dana Milbank at The Washington Post says Ron Paul is winning the debates— philosophically:
Paul won't be the president, or even the party nominee, but that was never his goal. He aimed to shift the debate toward his exotic economic theories, and by that standard he has prevailed…
Last time, in 2008, Paul was ignored because his ideas sounded crazy. This time, he's being ignored because his ideas have become commonplace. What's changed is not Paul but the party: Nearly a quarter-century after he quit the GOP to run for president as a Libertarian (he told me years ago that it was an "academic exercise"), he has brought the Republicans to him.
Finally, a Los Angeles Times article highlighting Johnson's presence in Thursday's debate weighs the differences between Paul and Johnson, concluding with:
If Johnson is the heir, he has clearly inherited from Paul, who is the patriarch.
While Johnson has barely registered in single digits in most national polls, Paul is on the upswing, reaching 13% or better in many recent national polls. One of the subplots in the debate will be their interaction and who can hold on to the party's libertarian faction.