Last night, Jon Stewart tried to tear the media a new one for ignoring Ron Paul.
Stewart makes a few good points—it's almost comical the way Fox News and CNN try to ignore Ron Paul—but using the Ames poll and applause at the Fox debates as the metric by which Paul should be taken seriously is, quite simply, dumb as fuck. Paul has a small but vocal army of fans who believe that shouting really loudly at debates and throwing internet polls in Paul's favor will make a difference. The Ames poll is a bullshit pony show that can be thrown by anyone who spends enough money, which makes it a perfect target for Paul supporters.
I believe that Ron Paul has basically hit his supporter ceiling. He's far enough to the right (or far enough to the left, I suppose, if you're looking at him from a different angle) that mainstream voters will never embrace him, even if CNN did a glowing two-hour primetime special on the man. If he were to somehow win the Iowa caucus in January—barring some sort of seismic voter shift, this is not possible, but let's just say he did—then he would warrant a serious reexamination. But placing second in the Ames poll—which, again, doesn't really amount to anything except brushing away the most inconsequential of regional candidates—does not mean we have to start taking the fringe seriously. Jon Stewart's media watchdog schtick is often too simplistic, but this is a rare major misstep on his part: He's dead wrong about Ron Paul.