Ron Paul The Third?

Money being the grease for the wheels of politics, it looks like Texas good old boy Ron Paul has hit himself a gusher. Being one of those who have roundly criticized the good gentleman, I can only sit back and watch his accomplishments with amazement:

Rep. Ron Paul, whose rock star status on the Internet has singlehandedly fueled his campaign, broke another online fundraising record.

His very own.

On Nov. 5, which was Guy Fawkes Day, a symbol of rebellion in British history, Paul hauled in $4.3 million in 24 hours — the most money raised online by a candidate in a single day. Today, the 234th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party, the day that helped spark the American Revolution, Paul’s Web-savvy, intensely loyal supporters planned another “money-bomb.” And by 9 p.m. EST, the “Paulites” had raised more than $5 million from more than 30,000 donors, bringing the Texas Republican’s fundraising total this quarter to nearly $17 million. And counting.

It could be a thing of beauty to watch where he next steers a campaign that virtually no political pundit would have predicted could have come this far. Or it could turn out to look more like a car wreck.

In the near term, I hope that he and his team can find as many creative ways to employ his new found wealth as they have found to use in raising it. I even hope that he pulls off the impossible and is still hanging around the stage by the time that the Republicans hit Minn. next fall. A split convention on either side would bring a sense of excitement to the 2008 race that will be lacking otherwise. And won’t it be fun to watch how the big boys negotiate with Dr. Paul behind the scenes?

More importantly, if The Candidate is still in the Republican hunt in the fall, it will be too late for him to mount a run as an Independent in 2008. However, if his campaign is not able to gain wide support in the limited time remaining for him to pull off a complete miracle, it’s real hard to imagine him just tearing down a money machine like this and walking away from the whole thing.

A Ron Paul running under a Third party banner is every bit as scary to me as was what Nader inflicted on the country in his ego ridden exercises in futility. Something like this is the only wild card I can see still available to influence 2008 in such a way that The Democrats don’t waltz home with all of the marbles.

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