With the result of the Iowa caucus to be decided narrowly in favour of either Rick Santorum or Mitt Romney it's clear that the biggest loser in the field was the one whose hopes were pinned most firmly on victory - Ron Paul.
Make no mistake about it, this is a devastating loss. Paul was all-in in Iowa having a massive ground game, coupled with lax rules for participation and the most fervent activists on the right side of the political spectrum, and got his butt handed to him with his not even close third place finish.
This should come as no surprise. At the end of the day Ron Paul is a loser and is a prime example of the notion that when you're a one trick pony you can't attract anything approaching a majority of the vote.
The problems with Paul as a presidential candidate are many.
While he attracts most of his support for his position on the economy and government spending, quite rightly pointing out that the spending is unsustainable, he has failed miserably over a long period to garner support within Congress even from his Republican colleagues. And it's that last point that really highlights his failure. How could he possibly be a president that gets things done?
His isolationism is problematic. The position that America should withdraw its forces from the world and close most of its bases is no different to that held by such notable lunatics as Noam Chomsky. This is not the position of a serious person. I have written before that the United States has a moral obligation to use its unique power to make the world a safer place and Paul's insensitivity to the suffering of a large part of humanity does not speak well about the orientation of his moral compass.
Over the years Ron Paul's responses to the rank racism and homophobia published in his name have the same ring of authenticity about them as did Bill Clinton's original statements regarding Monica Lewinsky. I don't believe him and neither do the majority of the American public.
It is also odd that someone that takes themselves remotely seriously could make such wishy washy statements when responding to the 9/11 Truther nutjobs. I wonder whether he's read the 9/11 Commission Report (which I commend to all, as it's a great read) or checked out the Popular Mechanics destruction of 9/11 conspiracy theories? Obviously not.
Unfortunately, I doubt his setback in Iowa will lead to a withdrawal from the race any time soon, though there is some suggestion that he doesn't want to get the mainstream Republican base too far offside, as that will hurt his son Rand's chances in the future.