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Ron Paul, loser again

January 9, 2008 |  5:04 am

For months now the growing thousands of Ron Paul supporters across the country have been saying virtually everywhere they could, including the comments section of this blog by the hundreds, that the media, the polls and the prognosticators were all wrong. There was a conspiracy.

Those Paul supporters were actually correct. The media, the polls and the prognosticators were, indeed, all wrong -- about Barack Obama handily beating Hillary Clinton in the New Hampshire primary. The media that the Paul camp loves to hate was actually dead-on right about Ron Paul. He was a long shot. He misfired again. And he got pretty much the same share of New Hampshire GOP votes as the progressive polls, that Paulunteers also despise as frauds and fixed, unrepresentative statistical snapshots, had indicated he had all along.

As he did in Iowa, Paul, despite raising the most money of any Republican presidential ....

candidate in the fourth quarter -- nearly $20 million -- (and another $600,000 this month) and despite the vociferous support of many young supporters, once again finished in the back of the GOP pack. He was in single digits this time, versus his 10% in the Iowa contest last week when he thumped former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who got a meager 4%. And the zero delegates that Paul got in last Saturday's Wyoming county caucuses.

The 72-year-old, 10-term congressman from Texas with the libertarian ideals and the strict views of the Constitution vied with Giuliani for fourth or fifth place all night with 8% or 9% of the record New Hampshire primary vote. His diverse supporters hoped -- indeed, expected -- that their political passion and heartfelt donations combined with Paul's candor, constitutional clarity and congressional consistency would reach critical mass in New Hampshire and ignite the Ron Paul Revolution. But apparently the match broke.

Despite his enthusiastic supporters. Despite all the hand-painted signs and chants. Despite the long hours handwriting letters to voters in other states. Despite the yard signs that bloomed everywhere like winter dandelions.

Despite his millions of dollars. Despite his growing political infrastructure in other states. Despite his book. Despite the 1,400 meet-up groups nationally. Despite all the positive publicity surrounding his being snubbed by Fox News for the Sunday night debate and his second appearance on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno." (Click here for the Paul-Leno interview transcript.) Despite all of his advertising in the Granite State, which seemed fertile soil for his less-government approach.

Paul lost. Again.

Paul has the money to continue his long-shot campaign. He says he plans no third-party run. But we'll see. Running for president and getting the acclaim of friendly crowds is a heady experience. For now, only Fred Thompson did worse in New Hampshire. And the former Tennessee senator wrote off that cold little place long ago.

For now, for a real change, we're not going to try to explain Ron Paul's candidate's defeat. We're going to leave it to his earnest and vocal supporters in the comments section below. Maybe they know better what went wrong. Please, spare us the rants and blaming secret neo-con conspiracies. Don't claim that fourth or fifth place is really winning. Nobody questions if Paul is a straight-shooter who sticks by his guns and his word. We can all go to his website here for the details of his platform.

Here's your chance to explain in specific detail to a major blog and its thousands of readers why Ron Paul lost so badly in New Hampshire and what he needs to do to realistically resurrect his candidacy for the Republican nomination in the other states coming up so rapidly. In fact, everyone is invited to offer their own analysis. Does Ron Paul's political fate even matter in the larger picture?

The floor -- or the page -- is yours. Let's hear it.

--Andrew Malcolm

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