"The Passion of Ron Paul"

It turned out that my two alternate predictions about the Republican presidential debate were not mutually exclusive. Fox did try to trip up Ron Paul with the sickening leading question, "Should we take our marching orders from al-Qaeda?" and he had a fantastic comeback. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8BB3NrSpRGE But Fox also limited his airtime to the best of its ability, and curiously kept the microphones of the other candidates open as they guffawed at some of Paul’s comments. Perhaps the audio technician(s) anticipated they would speak up at those moments in reply, but it had an unfortunate effect.

Whatever qualms I expressed earlier this year about Paul’s ad-libbing skills I have comfortably put to rest. But I have a new concern – and I don’t mean to keep nit-picking, I say this in the interest of introducing the ideas of liberty to people in the best way possible: I couldn’t decide if Paul’s performance last night was more passionate than in previous debates (which would be a good thing) – or more strident (which would not). It was good to see more fire in the belly, but it seemed to come at the cost of his courtly-doctor side – which is an important aspect of his campaign persona. Considering the overtly hostile environment he was in, perhaps the tone he struck was the right one after all. Whatever it was, it was genuine, and maybe that’s all that matters when you stand on stage with a bunch of phonies. (What do you think? Please take advantage of the comments section to chime in.)

Some early written accounts of the debate put Paul front-and-center — at least until Fred Thompson's appearance later in the evening on Leno overtook events.