….Ron Paul’s 2008 presidential campaign, with its message of limited government and its anti-Establishment ethos, created a kind of do-it-yourself model for the current activism shaking up politics around the country. The Paul campaign even inspired the first modern-day tea party that anyone can remember: a December 2007 antitax protest re-enacting the original Boston Tea Party on its 234th anniversary. (On that same day, Paul’s fervent supporters raised an astounding $6 million online, a single-day record.) The message then, as now, was a revolt against government taxes and spending and what his supporters called “tyranny.” “Dr. Paul was pushing for fiscal responsibility and limited government long before the Tea Party moniker was slapped on it,” says John O’Hara, author of the book A New American Tea Party.
The tale of Rand Paul’s stunning — and now controversial — success is really an outgrowth of his father’s unlikely crusade. Whether or not Rand Paul wins in November, his father is sure to keep the movement’s torch burning. And if Republican leaders don’t like it? Tough. “Ron Paul’s influence should be respected more than it is,” says a Republican strategist aligned with a likely 2012 candidate. “The more the Establishment rolls its eyes at him and his supporters, the more motivated they become.”Published in