In 2007, Ron Paul captivated grassroots activists everywhere with his darkhorse campaign for the Republican Party's presidential nomination. He was an obscure, ten-term Congressman from Texas who had never gotten a single bill passed and who was called "Dr. No" on Capitol Hill for frequently ending up on the losing end of 434-1 votes.
Yet, his message of fiscal conservativism (or really his record of actually legislating fiscal conservatism instead of just talking about it on the campaign trail), individual liberty, and the Constitutional rule of law resounded with voters.
In the final quarter of 2007, Ron Paul ended up setting a fundraising record when grassroots supporters organized a "money bomb," a single day of mass online donations, which netted Paul's campaign $4.3 million in one day on November 5th.
The following month, supporters broke their own record with a $6 million money bomb on December 16th, the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party. Yes you read that correctly- the Ron Paul people threw an online Tea Party over a year before Rick Santelli's famous CNBC rant launched protests and gatherings across the country.
Yet, despite the record-breaking fundraising success, and a new celebrity status as one of the few remaining defenders of the Founding Fathers' principles and statesmanship, Ron Paul couldn't manage to win his party's primary, and the nomination went to John McCain.
In the last two years, however, we've seen that Paul's campaign was hardly a defeat, but in fact the most robust political victory in recent history. While McCain and Romney have fallen by the wayside, Ron Paul has built a powerful and lasting political movement and garnered widespread attention for his political philosophy and agenda.
One of the most visible fruits of Ron Paul's 2008 presidential bid is his son, Rand Paul's 2010 U.S. Senate victory. Tapping into the fundraising prowess of his father's national base of supporters and into the ideological richness of his father's "Constitutional conservatism" as the Pauls call it, Rand defeated his establishment-anointed opponent for the Republican nomination, and moved on to secure a U.S. Senate seat in the November midterm election.
While the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, Rand Paul did distance himself from some of his father's anti-war rhetoric and skillfully presented a foreign policy that Kentucky's conservative voters would find a little more palatable. Whether he'll end up voting just like his father on foreign policy, or supporting measures such as sanctions on Iran (which the elder Paul opposes) remains to be seen.
What the two Pauls most certainly agree on is the size of the federal budget, and their pet issue: monetary policy. Rand actually started off his victory speech in Bowling Green, Kentucky to cheers of "End the Fed! End the Fed!" Watch any station's coverage of the event, and you'll be able to hear the chant very clearly as Paul takes the stage.
He and his father have both committed to an aggressive push for a public audit of the Federal Reserve bank to bring more transparency to Washington and let Americans find out where all their money is going. In addition to his son's political rise, Ron Paul can also thank his 2008 run for landing him his dream job this year after the Republicans took control of the House: he's been selected to chair the House Subcommittee for Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology.
To give you an idea of what to expect, CNBC reported that Ron Paul has said "I will approach that committee like no one has ever approached it because we’re living in times like no one has ever seen."
As both Pauls' careers advance, there is a lot of speculation about another try at the GOP's nomination in 2012 for the senior Paul. While he hasn't revealed his plans for sure, many of his most ardent supporters are gearing up for another electoral battle.