The Republican candidacy for President of the United States has been a "different" type of process in 2008. It wasn't that long ago that we heard that the race to supplant President George W. Bush started too soon.
Now it's almost over.
A few weeks ago I wrote about how Ron Paul could raise untold millions in contributions and still mean absolutely nothing to the national election.
Last summer, Paul had his apex of importance. His fundraising outled John McCain's. He was roundly cheered on the Bill Maher "Love equals liberalism, no tolerance for conservatives" HBO program.
Ron Paul owns the "outsider" vote. Conservatives consider Paul a crackpot. Not quite the Dennis Kucinich crackpot, but an unviable candidate nonetheless.
And moderate Republicans have embraced John McCain. What's interesting is that some Conservative pundits would rather vote for Barack Obama before they'd vote for McCain.
Lost in the political pantheon is Mike Huckabee, who a mere month ago was considered the front runner. Conservatives, who have not had the luxury of a conservative candidate they could truly embrace, have begun to rally behind Mitt Romney; however, McCain is largely considered a lovable scamp by others like Rudy Guiliani (who inexplicably operated a non-existent campaign) and Arnold Schwazzeneger (who quietly championed amending the U.S. Constitution to allow a Terminator in the White House...or so the urban myth goes).
As the field of Republican candidates continues to dwindle, Romney is getting the true Conservative vote. Super Tuesday will determine whether or not Conservatives are disenfranchised enough to avoid the election altogether.
Paul is about a year older than McCain. That's something the Conservative base can't grab ahold of anytime soon. Paul is not a commanding figure. As argued previously, Paul does not exhibit a religious...read Christian...backbone. His biography is a nothing but a blueprint for a spiritual carpetbagger. Without those who take religion seriously, Paul doesn't come close to registering.
Paul's supporters are not Republicans. They are on the fringe. In many ways, they are the "anti-war," "marijuana" vote. They complain that Paul doesn't get coverage from mainstream media. He has done nothing to earn the coverage. He has not boasted a swell of support from voters.
Paul's "run away" from Iraq philosophy also doesn't resonate with conservative voters, and only mildly with moderate Republicans. "Cut and Run" is the John Murtha/Nancy Pelosi plan of no-attack. It is not conducive with Republicans, most of whom won't abandon our fighting men and women, here or overseas. That may be Ron Paul's biggest philosophical anchor in the Republican party. Had Paul stood up in the War on Terror, he might have recorded some conservative support.
In the election of 2008, Ron Paul should have made a difference. He hasn't and he won't. That's quite the mystery.