Brent Budowsky at The Hill wrote today that Ron Paul may win the nomination in both New Hampshire and Iowa with multiple polls showing the Congressman surging in popularity after several other campaigns have imploded around embarrassing candidate gaffes. The article which warmly entices us with the headline of “surging,” “front-runner,” and “powerful” is sadly low on policy details but chock full of candidate name confetti (which boosts search engine traffic, no doubt) and of course political speculation (what we pundits like to do between poll announcements).
Budowsy scolds us at the beginning, to “give Ron Paul the attention he deserves in debates and throughout the political community.” Well get ready for more Ron Paul attention from the media’s political elite, sure, but not respect or much of anything that will resemble competent, investigative journalism. Oddly enough, Budowsky ends his piece with a three paragraph deep prediction — as many have with Ron Paul’s unwritten campaign future — by exploring the fantasy lands of a third party campaign.
At a minimum Ron Paul is now a force to be reckoned with. His support has surged in multiple polls. His fundraising will probably surge even more. He has the potential to be a kingmaker if he is the third Republican left at the convention with no candidate having a majority of delegates.
No doubt about it, a Ron Paul third-party candidacy would now be very formidable.
It may be that before this is done, one of the most important questions in American politics will be whether Paul runs as a third-party candidate, especially if the race is between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Fasten your seatbelts.
I’ll go ahead and make a prediction. I predict in the coming weeks the media will circle the Ron Paul campaign to poke and prod with more intensive interviews. These interviews will contain veiled insults (or outright, depending on who’s delivering) about Paul’s winnability in a general election. That will then segue into the old issue of running under a third party or independent banner.
If you haven’t gathered, media coverage of political campaigns is psychological warfare at its finest: posing fictional scenarios about a candidate running as a third party, call him a “GOP outsider,” or “eccentric;” and soon enough the average news consumer will come to associate this man (incidentally running under the banner of restoring the republic to constitutional limitation) as some fringe element of political discourse. It’s also a brazen lie in the face of a reality where these ideas have always been mainstream.
I’m reminded of Dave Chappelle’s warning during an Inside the Actor’s Studio interview, “The worst thing to call somebody is ‘crazy’. It’s dismissive. ‘I don’t understand this person, so they’re crazy.’ That’s bullshit! People are not crazy. They are strong people… Maybe the environment is a little sick.” I’ll top that by saying that the worst thing is people with thesauruses calling you crazy.
Well, I told you there would be hand-wringing.