Finally the last two Republican primary cycles were dominated by never-ending debates. These pivotal events looked more like The Jerry Springer Show than Lincoln and Douglas. In today's Republican Party ideas and values no longer win debates. Rather pointing, scoffing at each other and, like Newt Gingrich, also attacking the media, is the way to win. Perhaps no moment was more disheartening than the South Carolina audience booing Dr. Paul's mentioning of the "golden rule"—"Don't do to other nations what we don't want them to do to us"—in relation to international affairs.
Yet through all the scoffing, the pointing, and even the booing, Ron Paul continued defending his values, as he has for years, with a genuine smile on his face. Ultimately this is Ron Paul's greatest lesson to Republicans. Like Ronald Reagan he is a happy warrior. It's possible our party's problems result from a unique Obama coalition. It is also possible the party faces an electoral wilderness until it builds a more diverse coalition. Regardless a party perceived by too many Americans as angry must keep a smile on its face when promoting and defending its principles even when others disagree.