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For those of you who don't follow minor American political parties, you're to be commended for your general sense of sanity.

However, you may have missed something of great potential significance here in the Intermountain West, something that may have profound consequences on the November elections. More below the fold:

Politics1 reports that Ron Paul will be on the general election ballot in two states, Montana and Louisiana. In Montana at least, this brings up a couple very intriguing points.

First, in Montana Paul has been given the ballot line of the profoundly theocratic and un-libertarian Constitution Party. The Constitution Party of Montana dumped the national party's presidential nominee, Chuck Baldwin, in favor of Paul due largely to a dispute with the national organization over abortion. To wit, Montana Constitutionalists don't think their national party favors criminalizing abortion strongly enough.

In Louisiana, Paul is the nominee of an apparently independent organization called the "Taxpayers Party." Perhaps not coincidentally, the Constitution Party was known as the US Taxpayers Party until 1999.

What's more, Paul has at least tacitly given these folks in Montana and Louisiana his blessing to do this. It's just another argument that Paul is a half-libertarian at best who has no real interest in civil liberties (not that anyone here was in doubt of that). This is even more puzzling considering Paul had more than ample opportunity to secure the nationwide Libertarian nomination. All he needed to do to convince Libertarians to brush aside Bob Barr and Wayne Allyn Root was make a couple phone calls before the convention.

But as we all know in politics, perception is reality. It's worth noting that in libertarian-minded Montana, Paul beat John McCain in the 5 February GOP caucus. I believe is entirely reasonable to assume Paul would draw a few libertarian and conservative votes in Montana that would otherwise go to McCain. Given the fact Montana is very much a swing state, a halfway decent Paul protest vote would be more than enough to give Obama a plurality win in Montana, and the state's electoral votes to boot.

Sure, Montana only has three electoral votes, but if the election goes down to the wire any state could be the difference. Quite in spite of himself, Ron Paul may be doing Democrats a huge favor.

Originally posted to W Lane Startin on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 02:03 PM PDT.

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