This past week, some interesting things happened in the Republican Primary. First, Rick Perry - Governor of Texas, threw his hat into the ring. Then Michele Bachmann was named winner of the Iowa Straw Poll, which meant the majority of media coverage for the weekend went to her. In fact, she was on all 5 Sunday morning talk shows. After that, Tim Pawlenty decided he had enough and bowed out of the race.

In the midst of all this activity, one thing seemingly overlooked by many pundits is who placed second in that straw poll. It wasn’t Mitt Romney, the current “front runner”, nor was it Rick Perry. It was Ron Paul.

So why isn’t anyone talking about Paul? After all, he came on the scene during the last Republican primary and can rightly claim to the title of “O.G.“ of right wing fiscal lunacy. From a fiscal perspective, his core beliefs about government are to the right of either a Bachmann or a Perry. And, for the most part, they are consistent from a social perspective as well, which is more than you can say for the other two Tea Party favorites. His philosophy is “keep the government out of my way”. Whether it’s in regards to business or pleasure doesn’t really matter.

I have some thoughts on why Paul isn’t getting much air time nowadays. The easiest answer is that he is old news. He was around last time, pretty much ignored as crazy then, so why not continue down that path now, even as all the other candidates do their best Ron Paul impersonation. The more likely explanation is that he is an old, short, goofy looking guy that doesn’t shine well on camera, and since there are plenty of other crazies to go around the media can continue to focus elsewhere.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not interested in hearing from Ron Paul. But I think the fact that he is currently overlooked by the media could be to his benefit this time around. Traditionally, the early front runner does not become the nominee. Think back to the last election - Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani were in the lead (and had the attention of the media) at this stage. The election before that, it was Howard Dean.

The actual nominees, in each case, were someone different. If Paul can continue to be successful with the people and manage to keep out of the immediate spotlight, his odds for success this time around will be much higher.
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Joe Payne

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