Ron Paul's 'Time'

Joel Stein takes Time readers inside the "Ron Paul Revolution." A few excerpts:

"It sometimes seems as if someone is playing a cruel practical joke on Ron Paul. He goes to a college and delivers the same speech he's given for the past 30 years of his political career, the one espousing the Austrian school of economics. Only now the audience is packed with hundreds of kids in RON PAUL REVOLUTION T shirts who go nuts — giving standing ovations when he drones on about getting rid of the Federal Reserve and returning to the gold standard. . . .

"The libertarian's traction is most apparent on the Internet, where his presence far outstrips that of any candidate from either party. His name is the most searched, his YouTube videos the most watched, his campaign the topic of songs by at least 14 bands. 'The last thing I would listen to is rap,' Paul says. 'But there's something going on when there's a rap song about the Fed.'. . .

"His message, even if packaged in obscure economic lectures, is that there is something very corrupt, very Halliburton-Blackwatery going on with our military-industrial complex, and that can attract some pretty weird followers. At the Iowa State event, a student stood outside in a tricornered hat and Revolutionary War–era suit, ringing a bell. Representative Tom Tancredo, another long-shot GOP candidate, tells me that after a debate in New Hampshire, one of his staffers walked up to a guy in a shark costume and asked him if he was a Ron Paul supporter. 'No. They're all nuts,' replied the shark. 'I'm just a guy in a shark suit.' "