But the Paul vote won't die. This vote has been building in the depths of the American political ocean since the spending spree of the second Bush term. These people see the upward spending trend in annual outlays and accumulated commitments not as a "problem," as the Beltway prefers, but as a threat to their well-being.
The Romney campaign may assume that this vote must land by default in their man's lap. By the relentless logic of the Romney camp, that's true. But if we've learned anything the past several months, it's that this is one of the most volatile Republican electorates in a long while. [...]
But if the former Massachusetts governor doesn't reach out pretty soon to the Paul-Perry-Bachmann Republican protest voters, he may never get them. The longer he waits, the more pressure will build for a third-party challenge that will cost him the election. That it would be led by a Ron Paul or Donald Trump is irrelevant to why these people would vote third party—or stay home.
Mr. Romney is going to have to take a risk with some piece of his locked-down strategy—the RomneyCare denial, the "middle-class" ceiling on his tax cut, naming a running mate who could have beaten him in the primaries.
Mr. Romney needs to give these Republicans a reason to come in his direction, before they walk away from him forever.
-- New ad: "The Compassion of Dr. Ron Paul":