Can Paul Win?

Kevin Drum agrees with Chris Wallace:

Ron Paul isn't going to win the GOP nomination, and if he manages to pull out some kind of freak victory in a small state with a weird nominating process, well, it's just a freak victory. Why shouldn't Chris Wallace point out quite accurately that this is exactly how the Republican establishment would view it?

Because he is supposed to be an independent journalist, not a tool for Roger Ailes. And Kevin isn't moderating a debate tonight in which he has already declared he believes one candidate is a joke. James Joyner sides with Drum:

Paul’s an interesting character and he adds a valuable point of view to the debates. And he deserves to be in the debates, given that he does have sizable support. But his ceiling is somewhere around 15 percent.

Right now. But as we have seen in this race, anything can happen. And even if Joyner is right, that ceiling makes him the third man in the race right now. Romney's is around 22 percent. And look at the match-ups between Obama and the GOP candidates. Obama has an 8.4 percent lead over Gingrich and an 8.8 percent lead over Paul. He beats Perry by 10.7 percent and Santorum by 11 percent. In terms of general election electability, the polls put Paul in a tied second place with Gingrich, with Huntsman at his heels. Rush Limbaugh is simply arguing against the data.

These are the objective data we now have. What I object to is the automatic liberal media bias that doesn't treat this serious principled candidate seriously; and the consistent, sustained, vicious war on him by Fox, and the neocon right.

I might add that up to this point in the last cycle, exactly the same things were said about Barack Obama. And if a moderator of the Iowa debate had in advance said that a victory for him would discredit Iowa's electoral process, he would not have been allowed to moderate. Nor should Wallace tonight.