But what looms are far larger questions about whether an America fed up with government bans and government bailouts — with government, period — is seeing a return to its libertarian roots. And, if so, what that might mean in a potentially close presidential race and long after election 2012 is a mere memory. "There's this kind of growing distrust of the institutions of government, and so it leads folks to step back and say, 'Well if they're not working, then we ought to have less of them in our lives,'" said Wayne Lesperance, director of the Center for Civic Engagement at New England College in the "Live Free or Die" state of New Hampshire. Paul's libertarian message joins people "who probably under any other circumstances would not see the world the same way and gets them politically involved," Lesperance said. "It is a challenge for the Republicans to wrap their arms around this and harness this in a way that gets them an electoral victory."
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