Ron Paul to Shake Things Up! (For Bob Barr?)

BobBarr2008.jpgApparently some of the rumors running around are true. Ron Paul is going to make a “major announcement” tomorrow. His presidential campaign may be ended, (except in Montana where the Constitution Party has conscripted him as their candidate without so much as a by-your-leave) but he still seems to be mixing things up in the final weeks of the election. I just contacted Bob Barr’s campaign manager, Russ Verney, and he confirmed that something is in the wind, pointing me to this piece in the Washington Times.

WASHINGTON (AP) – Libertarian-leaning congressman Ron Paul is urging voters to reject John McCain and Barack Obama and support one of the third-party candidates for president.

Paul, a Republican who abandoned his White House bid earlier this year, is gathering some of the candidates, independent Ralph Nader among them, on Wednesday to make his plea.

The strongest message can be sent by rejecting the two party system,” Paul said in prepared remarks obtained by AP. “This can be accomplished by voting for one of the non-establishment, principled candidates.”

From a high level, Dr. Paul seems to be indicating that any third party choice would be preferable to Obama or McCain, but where would his heart lie among the various contenders? Nader is pretty far out on the “tree-hugging” left wing, and Cynthia McKinney isn’t on the ballot anywhere but in her local PTA office last time I checked. Paul himself once ran for president on the Libertarian ticket, and his message of limited government, privacy and a rejection of American military adventurism clearly line up very well with one candidate near and dear to my heart.

What, if anything, does this mean to us? Of all the candidates not to make the finish line in the two major parties, Ron Paul was the one who amassed an army of enthusiastic (some might say fanatical) supporters who shocked the pollsters with his support in many states and raised staggering amounts of money for their candidate. If Paul’s endorsement could somehow unleash even a significant percentage of that massive glut of enthusiasm and financial support to the Barr campaign (who is on the ballot in nearly every state) just as we approach the debates and the final stages of this endless campaign, there could be some serious changes in the works. Barr already threatens to have a jarring effect on the vote in several states, and a sudden infusion of Dr. Paul’s supporters could really toss a wrench into the entire works and make Barr even more important as we move forward.