If presidential campaigns were the Olympics, Ron Paul would be one triumphant silver medalist. The Texas congressman took second place in Tuesday’s Republican presidential primary with approximately 23 percent of the vote, which, as Richard S. Dunham and Carla Marinucci of the Houston Chronicle noted, was triple the support he got there in 2008.
Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney was the winner, while Governor Rick Perry, whose focus since last week’s Iowa caucus has been entirely on South Carolina, finished sixth with 0.7 percent of the vote.
“We are dangerous to the status quo,” Paul exulted in his “victory” speech, which saw supporters chanting, “President Paul! President Paul!”
That scenario had little truck with Brit Hume of Fox News, who, as Mediaite noted, dismissively cracked that Paul “has as much of a chance of getting nominated as RuPaul would.” (The longtime drag performer had also been in New Hampshire drumming up publicity around the similarity of the two names.)
At the Daily Beast, conservative commentator Michael Medved gave Paul some unsolicited advice on how to make himself more palatable to Republican like Hume (and presumably, Medved himself), who have simply not been willing to consider him.
Medved suggested Paul make a stronger statement about the racist content in his old newsletters, distance himself from his most hard-right fringe supporters, revise his position on Israel, and, most importantly, rule out any possible third-party run.
Medved even wrote a script for Paul:
If I fail to win the Republican nomination myself, I fully expect to support the nominee of our party in a vigorous effort to defeat Barack Obama. Until now, I have refused to rule out the notion of an independent candidacy because of my distaste for absolute, categorical pledges, but given the open, fair reception for my candidacy in GOP caucuses and primaries, I pledge to avoid a divisive, disastrous third-party effort that would only guarantee four more years of Democratic misrule.
Leading up to the convention in Tampa, I will continue to campaign vigorously for the nomination and, even more important, make the case for the principles of liberty to which I have devoted my life. If the ultimate nominee of our party embraces those ideals—or even most of them—and simultaneously demonstrates openness to a more realistic, more affordable foreign policy, I will offer that candidate enthusiastic support.
But Medved shows how little he rates the possibility of an actual Paul administration in his conclusion, pointing out that the 76-year-old Paul would be older at the beginning of his first term than Ronald Reagan was at the end of his second term.
Despite dismissal from his own party, Paul continues to pick up support. Having captured the approval of Kelly Clarkson over the holidays, Paul received another celebrity endorsement on Tuesday, this one from the ska/new wave band No Doubt.
“Today We Officially Endorse Ron Paul 2012,” the band tweeted, providing a link to his campaign site for donations. A second tweet added, “if you actually read what Ron Paul is saying, you will discover that for the first time in your life a politician is not lying to you.”
UPDATE: The band’s Twitter was hacked.
Watch Ron Paul’s speech from New Hampshire: