I now believe that a third party candidacy may be viable. I do not rule out the independent course but only if and where it gets Ron Paul on the general election ballot.
Different states have different laws and deadlines concerning third party and independent candidates. Where getting Ron Paul on the ballot is easy, it should be done.
The problem is it is easier to run independent only after the candidate makes up her or his mind. And then there is the additional problem of putting a vice presidential running mate on an independent ballot before such the presidential candidate chooses one.
I therefore am endorsing an effort by Ron Paul supporters to secure his name on on third party tickets across the US. The dilemma remains the timing. If a party holds a national convention and announces a national candidate, reversing course is going to be very difficult if not impossible.
For example, the Libertarian party meets next month and if they choose Gary Johnson, Ron Paul loses that opportunity. If the Libertarian party could be persuaded to wait until after the GOP convention to choose their nominee then Ron Paul could throw his name in the ring.
To state my newest position (do I sound like Romney?), get Paul on the ballot ASAP, but if there is a party or a state which will allow him to go through the GOP convention and still have the option of getting on the ballot afterwards, then go that route.
I still think it would be preferable for Paul to drop out of the GOP race now and hand his delegates over to Rand Paul at the GOP convention while Ron Paul pursues an independent coalition candidacy. However, it does not appear that Ron Paul will give up on the GOP before the convention, so we work with conditions as they are.
If Paul chooses to go independent now or third party later (after Libertarians, Greens or some other party agree to delay their decisions until after the GOP convention), I do hope he will see the wisdom in going coalition with a progressive running mate.
Regardless, we progressives need him on the debate stage with Obama and Romney to force them to talk about issues they both wish to avoid.
PS: Here is a link to sign a petition calling for Ron Paul to run third party: http://www.rp2012.org/