Ronpaulgabrielbouysafpgetty

No Howard Dean:

There is zero chance that Ron Paul will win the Republican nomination or, after he loses, become a major leader in the Republican party. His constituency consists mainly of libertarian types who are either not Republicans or have not felt at home in the Republican party for quite some time.

And unlike Dean, I think it is pretty unlikely that Paul will endorse the eventual Republican nominee. In fact, I suspect Republican party officials are a little worried about Paul's plans for the general election. …If Paul can raise his profile enough to secure himself a place in general election debates (as Ross Perot did in 1992), he may well be tempted to accept a third party nomination.

Paul is much more like Ross Perot or Ralph Nader than Howard Dean. His support comes from people who are fed up with the two major parties and don't feel represented by either of them. Those who want to see a Republican in the White House come 2009 should be very careful how they treat Ron Paul and his supporters. He has the potential to become a very effective spoiler in the general election.

(Photo: Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty.)

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