Ron Paul: Last Hurah? Or Serious Contender?

There is one place Ron Paul is not planning on being in 2012.  Paul has announced that he will not run for re-election to the House of Representatives in 2012.  However, Ron Paul says this announcement does not signal retirement.  It signals that he is ready to go the distance in the Presidential race.

To be honest, I have found the announcement puzzling.  Paul has run for President before, and then focused on his district once the primary was over.  He has done this and won.  So why not this time?  The campaign line is that he wants to focus more on the race, and I think the intentional signal is that he is closer than any of his previous attempts.

Ron Paul has been in this game for a while

Instead, two alternative messages are coming across with this early Congressional retirement announcement.  Message number one is that he is getting old and is ready to hang up his hat after one last primary battle.  I don’t think anyone doubts that Paul could win his district again after this primary.  This raises questions as to how much fight Paul actually has left in him.  Should we elect a President who is actually ready to get out of the business?

The other message, and perhaps a more disconcerting message, is that Paul may be considering a third party run at the Whitehouse if he loses the primary.  If he is not ready to exit the political scene, this option best explains his confidence that he will in fact be in the Presidential race next fall no matter what.

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