I've always been skeptical of third parties because of what I like to call the "Greg Stillson factor." Named for the batshit insane presidential candidate in Stephen King's The Dead Zone, it's essentially an argument in favor of the American two party political system. Even though both parties have been corrupted by money and patronage, they can each be relied upon to produce reasonably sane candidates. Or at least candidates that will not initiate global thermonuclear war on a whim a la Greg Stillson. (Yes, I know there is no small irony here in light of Bush/Cheney warmongering toward Iran, but let's persist with the analogy for a moment).
So I've never really understood the love for Ron Paul. Sure, he's anti-war, and he's amusing to watch on the stump. But his obsession with returning to the gold standard, not to mention his latent racism, should keep him on the fringes where he belongs. He's just another Greg Stillson nutball.