Paul's success - in fundraising if not traditional campaigning - surprised almost all Beltway journalists back in 2007. In retrospect, however, that's where you find the genesis of at least some parts of the Tea Party movement. Truth be told, Paul, with his goldbuggery, his hostility to a mythical North American Union, his oddball, if at times endearingly goofy, TV manner was not a great pitchman for his brand of conservative-libertarianism. Johnson, by contrast, is a showman.
Unlike Paul, Johnson also believes in the free movement of goods and people so he's the kind of libertarian who appeals to the Cato-Reason crowd more than to the Lew Rockwell peeps or many of the cultural conservatives who've rallied to the Tea Party banner.
Nevertheless, if Johnson can raise enough money and enough momentum to be taken even semi-seriously he will challenge the Tea Party to honour their rhetoric on fiscal matters at least. This is the candidate, after all, who wants to slash federal spending by 40%. Across the board. Including defence and entitlements. So his candidacy will be a test of their seriousness as well as his
This is an interesting take on Gov. Johnson's appeal. Many in the Tea Party might be concerned about some elements of his libertarian viewpoint, BUT, if the concern is really about fiscal responsibility, then this should be the guy. There's no one better on that. As he suggested on a show that I saw him interviewed on (paraphrasing): "Republicans need to become the party that worships fiscal responsibility again."