[He] as absolutely right when he predicted it months ago, although the trepidation in his tone was, I think, unwarranted.
Looks like. This week brings two anti-Paul arguments, both supernaturally unconvincing. First, Republican consultant David Hill argues that Paul will lose his congressional re-election for his "increasingly leftish libertarian bent".
Paul's critics have a bona fide challenger lined up: Chris Peden, a mainline social conservative who has distinguished himself opposing the tax hijinks of local elected officials. If Paul files to run for both Congress and the presidency by the Jan. 2 deadline, he'll likely lose to Peden on March 4. That'll be OK, though. Dr. Paul can just move to New Hampshire where the libertarian Free State Project might try and elect him their first governor, leveraging the boost in name ID and image that his presidential bid will have wrought. Good riddance.
Before you run and check: Hill is not actually twelve years old. National Review political reporter David Freddoso debunks the column pretty easily, including the important fact that Peden has been out-fundraised by Paul—just in House race funds, not counting the presidential race money—by about 80 to 1.
The other argument actually poses a danger to Paul. Over at Jewcy Daniel Sieradski argues that Paul has a "Jewish problem" and at The American Thinker* Andrew Walden rages against Paul's "neo-nazi support." I ignored Sieradski's column as various liberals, libertarian hawks, paleocons, and Andrew Sullivans took turns playing pinata with it; dismissal's the correct response to an article that claims a Murray Rothbard devotee refuses to speak to Jews. [UPDATE: Joe argues that the piece is more about perception and that Sieradski's being sympathetic. I can see his point, but Sieradski's closing line didn't come off that way.) Walden's piece is a livelier read, a crazy-quilt of bulletin board comments, angry assertions, and six-degrees-of-Kevin Baconisms (one guy who gave money to Paul once worked for a group that was affiliated with the guy who wrote the Turner Diaries!) which treats Michael Medved as the authority on Paul's integrity.
Paul does get money and vocal support from white supremacists. How should he respond to that? If he turns it down, he gets a one-day news story (at least) and probably spooks the voters who aren't constantly online and haven't heard of this. Jonah Goldberg gets it right:
Conservatives have a lot of experience with this, starting with Buckley. The left is perfectly happy to blur the lines between a mainstream conservative and a Klansmen. For this and other reasons, it's that much more important for conservatives to make those distinctions very clear. Of course, sometimes this can seem like hoop-jumping for a bunch of jerks who, in their monumental bad faith, don't care what the truth is and merely want to make all conservatives appear evil to the American public. Hence, it can be very annoying. And there are times when it is right to refuse to jump through their hoops. But there are other times when it is wrong not to make a clear statement, even if it's prompted by someone yelling "Dance!"
Ron Paul is getting real money, real attention and, increasingly real poll numbers. It's time he learned how to dance like a pro.
Sort of related, John McCain's web site has a new "game" where you answer leading questions about how terrific John McCain is. Here's what happens if you claim Ron Paul's a stronger candidate:
Horrible headline explained here.
*I welcome the existence of another site that gets "for a magazine called…" disses.