Candidate: Ron Paul
Political Background: U.S. Representative (TX-14), 1988 Libertarian Party candidate for President
Campaign Website: http://www.ronpaul2008.com/
GOP Appeal: Libertarian-based conservatism, strong fiscal stances, consistent supporter of low taxes, strict constitutionalist, anti-abortion, pro-2nd Amendment, supports abolition of Dept of Education/pro-private school vouchers, anti-LOST, generally pro-free trade, opposes universal and/or managed health care, strong stances against illegal immigration and immigration reform, candidate who has best managed to use the internet to promote campaign, believes most issues should be handled by the states, believes UN usurps American sovereignty.
Cross-over Appeal for Dems: anti-Iraq War, believes gay marriage should be decided by states individually, pro-1st Amendment, anti-PATRIOT Act, anti-capital punishment, pro-medical marijuana, opposes government intervention in cases like Terri Schiavo's, anti-draft registration, partial support for unions.
Cons: Libertarian ideals seens as a radical change from current liberal/conservative platforms which scares some voters away, has rabid base of support but that base is relatively small, has appeal to both parties but cross-over tempered by opposing viewpoints.
My Personal Thoughts: Ah, yes...Ron Paul. The Libertarian Leader, the Champion of the Constitution, the Doctor of Denial (a reference to his "Dr. No" nickname in Congress). Ron Paul is a moderate libertarian with a healthy dose of Reagan-esque weariness regarding the size and influence of government.
While Paul was originally seen as the GOP's counterpart to Mike Gravel (an old, grumpy extremist), Paul has actually managed to see his movement gain some traction amongst disillusioned conservatives, Republicans of a more moderate social standing, and fiscally conservative independents who are looking for a change from the usual.
His rabid base of grassroots support and incredible fundraising abilities have thrusted Paul into the national spotlight...and that has caused Paul to get second and third looks from undecided or loosely-decided voters.
However, the voting public does not seem to be on the same page with Ron Paul in regards to how he wants to go about instituting his agenda (for instance, eliminating the IRS on his first day as President, should he be elected). That being said, Paul seems to be planting the seeds for a future generation to implement his ideas (or something like them) in a way that may be a bit more palatable to the mainstream American public.