I'm with Larison:
Despite the fact that he has explicitly and repeatedly ruled out an independent run, the fear of his impact on the general election is real enough. Dismissing and insulting Paul's supporters are the defensive responses of a crumbling, dying party, as if to say, "Yes, most Americans may despise us and everything we have done, but at least we're not a bunch of kooks who talk about the Constitution!" If things were like they were in 2002 and the GOP was still dominant, this arrogant dismissal of a small but noticeable group of Republican and independent voters might make more sense, but under the present circumstances it is baffling why anyone interested in GOP victory next year would go out of their way to insult and denigrate a relatively small but extremely active segment of the electorate.
The "Paulites=Naderites" bit is too silly to address, but comparing $8m over one year with $4.3m in one daythat's not apples and oranges, it's apples and nuclear submarines. And if you start from January 2007, Paul has raised $15.5m. He's probably going to triple Nader's haul by the end of the campaign. And Nader was an internationally famous consumer activist with 40 years in the spotlight. When this campaign started Paul was an obscure congressman who'd occasionally light up the House floor at 11 p.m.
The Republican party is just panicked that there may still be some actual conservatives in their midst. It kind of shows them up.
(Photo: Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty.)