His announcement is coming later today, and Public Policy Polling warns pundits who would write him off: “In Iowa Paul’s net favorability with GOP voters is +38 at 55/17. The only Republican more popular with the base than that in the state is Mike Huckabee. Paul’s numbers trump Tim Pawlenty (+32), Mitt Romney (+30), Sarah Palin (+29), and Newt Gingrich (+21) as well as a cadre of other less well known candidates.”
In the current American Conservative, Paul Mulshine looks at the lessons of Ron Paul’s 2008 run and how they apply to 2012. Not only is Paul’s organization more experienced now, but the issues environment of 2011/12 could work in his favor: in 2007, Paul was the only Republican contender willing to criticize a war. This year, the Republican base is none too fond of Obama’s Libya war. Paul has more to say about the decline of the dollar than the other candidates can be expected to have, and of course he was talking about Tea Party issues long before there was a Tea Party. (Other than the Boston variety.) These points can also work against him, however: every Republican is now going to be saying, to one degree or another, many of the things that only Paul was saying four years ago. That Paul has a record to match his rhetoric may or may not count for much with voters — democratic myths notwithstanding, not many voters know or care about a legislator’s history. What wins elections is organization, which is why Mulshine’s piece is must reading.