Ron Paul has big night in South Carolina Republican debate...

I haven't had the opportunity to watch the full coverage of the Republican primary debate, held this evening in South Carolina and hosted by the Fox News Channel, because I was busy watching my Chicago Bulls wipe the floor with the Detroit Pistons. I plan on staying up late to watch the re-airing, and having just turned on Fox to see that Congressman Ron Paul is thus far tied with Mitt Romney in the text message poll open to viewers with 26% of respondents picking him as the winner.

One response I did catch from Rep. Paul that I thought particularly interesting was his response to the question of which three programs he would cut as President to limit federal spending and balance the budget. With a straight face Paul said, "Well, I would start with the Departments. The Department of Education, Department of Energy, Department of Homeland Security..."

As I said, I am not sure how the whole debate unfolded, but I am willing to bet he gave a much better answer to this question than any of his fellow participants, and it was likely an answer that resonated with small government Republicans who long for a candidate with exactly these types of principles. It was most certainly a better answer than was offered by the first candidate to which it was posed, Tommy Thompson, who rambled about fiscal responsibility before lamely offering some unnamed "stockpile" program in the Department of Health and Human Services.

I have no reason to think that Ron Paul has increased his chances of winning the Republican nomination, or even registering in the actual polls, but he certainly brings something to the debate that is otherwise absent. I am glad he has not been squeezed out by the media establishment trying to streamline to nomination process by only inviting the front-runners. Senator Gravel serves a similar purpose on the Democratic side. I congratulate Congressman Paul on his success tonight in South Carolina and I look forward to seeing his performance later this evening.

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