What happened
Long-shot Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul raised $4.3 million over 24 hours, his campaign announced on Monday. Paul, a libertarian congressman from Texas, consistently scores in the low single digits in polls, but his steady criticism of the Iraq war has helped him stand out in a crowded field vying for the GOP nomination. “The true patriot,” Paul said, “challenges the state when the state embarks on enhancing its power at the expense of the individual.”

What the commentators said
That settles it, said Andrew Sullivan in his Daily Dish blog at TheAtlantic.com. “The Ron Paul phenomenon is real.” Be afraid, “Christianists and neocons.” There are an awful lot of true conservatives out there who “despise the big-spending, unchecked executive, busy-body, Christianist wing of the GOP,” and Paul’s focus on “freedom” resonates with them.

This is “an impressive haul,” said Paul Mirengoff in PowerLine, but that doesn’t mean that Paul “should be taken seriously as a candidate.” His poll numbers are still as low as 2 percent. But the only things that make Paul stand out are his anti-war stance and his general nuttiness—his opposition to “big government” is shared by others.

Boy, Americans must really be mad at “the establishment,” said Mark Silva in Tribune Co.’s The Swamp blog. “That so many people have invested so much in someone who stands such little apparent chance of winning his party’s presidential nomination, let alone the White House, speaks volumes about alienation in modern American politics.”