Ron Paul in N.H.
I noticed last night and today that the media seem to be giving Ron Paul a break, as they recognize his unquestionable appeal to the young and independents, and his allure generally as a change agent. "Bring Them Home!" the audience was chanting last night in Manchester, about troops overseas. Paul gets at that traditional tension between elites and populists in American politics, and at some point even media toffs have to grant him respect.
American Thinker is a hardcore neocon site. It concedes that Romney and Paul were big winners last night. Thomas Lifson:
South Carolina now becomes a major test for all the candidates. This is far from over, but Romney is clearly gaining momentum. Ron Paul's clear appeal to younger and independent voters is something for the GOP as a whole to ponder. Whatever the downside of his foreign policy views, Paul's willingness to speak frankly and talk about major change obviously resonates with constituencies the party needs to win.
Business Insider headlines its piece on Paul, Admit It: Ron Paul's Performance in New Hampshire last night was impressive... Henry Blodget:
Ron Paul's current policies are still too extreme for him to win the general election.... And the more Paul's candidacy is taken seriously by the mainstream, the more directly he will have to answer for issues like the offensive and racist newsletters that were once published under his name. So unless Ron Paul tacks sharply to the center or pulls off a true stunner in some of the upcoming primaries, he'll continue to be perceived by the mainstream as a fringe candidate.
But if Ron Paul does amass enough delegates, which he appears to be on his way to doing (especially now that Florida may split delegates), he will get more of what his advisors appear to believe they wanted from the beginning: Influence. Why?
Because if Ron Paul decides to run as a third-party candidate, which some analysts consider possible, he could capture enough of the vote to destroy any chance the GOP has of winning the general election.
Thanks to Mark Wauck for this post.