February 21, 2008

When Ron Paul, in effect, announced the suspension of his presidential campaign after Super-Tuesday, many of his supporters—myself among them—were about as deflated as real estate prices, if not more so. Now that Republican discontent with John McCain is cresting, and there may be hints of a major McCainiac scandal in the making, we get this from Paul HQ, as noted by the Los Angeles Times:

“Wait, hold on! Don’t toss those Ron Paul signs quite yet.

“The 72-year-old, 10-term Republican congressman has just vowed to continue his current campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.There’s been some confusion in recent days since Paul sounded like he was, in effect, withdrawing to refocus his political efforts on a well-funded House primary challenger in his home Texas district near Houston on March 4…. But Wednesday he struck a different note. ‘I will stay in as long as my supporters want me to,’ the Texas congressman promised CNN. ‘And I say as long as the number of volunteers continues to grow, and the money comes in, and there are primaries out there, and they want me to be involved, I am going to stay involved.’

“And if, say, there’s a scandal or illness among the two remaining Republican candidates ahead of Paul in delegates, he’ll be in a pretty good political position for the convention in St. Paul.”

I’m not too sure about that latter statement: it’s all about delegates, and how many of those Ron has is somewhat in dispute. I would guesstimate no more than 45, probably lower. Not enough, in my view, to make a difference. However, there is one asset Paul has plenty of, as the Times notes:

“Also, guess what The Times’ campaign finance guru Dan Morain just discovered…. tonight in records of the Federal Election Commission? Of all the Republican candidates left in the field at the end of January none other than Ron Paul had the most cash in hand—some $6 million. And, like a true conservative, Paul reported not a penny in debt.”

He’s got the money, he’s got the grassroots organization, and his supporters are full of frustrated energy and ready to go to work for the cause. Is it written in stone that he won’t run as a third party candidate, as I urged here? He could easily change his mind—especially if he loses the congressional primary to Chris Peden, a candidate who was praising Paul yesterday and today says quite the opposite. The neocons over at “Pajamas Media” are chortling up a storm at the prospect—but they’ll be laughing out of the other side of their mouths when a third party Paul campaign denies the McCainiac the White House.

If Ron loses his seat in Congress, it won’t be the first time the War Party targeted him and thought he was out of the picture—but he has always come back to bite them in the … well, whatever. It’s little short of a miracle that someone with such well-defined, angular views has managed to win ten terms as a Republican congressman representing a rural district in Texas. It speaks well of the people of the Galveston area, where Ron has been a practicing doctor lo these many years, that they aren’t easily fooled by Washington spin-meisters and neocon pundits sitting in Manhattan. I only hope that they hold steady in their uniquely American orneriness. And if Ron wins, he should still run as a third party candidate (although, frankly, it’ll be less like)—because the nation needs to hear what he is saying.


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