You'll just have to take my word for it that my motivation isn't (okay, isn't just) that he bought me a drink and hung out with me and Paulie (or was it GE? -- I was pretty tired and already a bit in my cups) for a few minutes in Denver, even after I had written dismissively of him.
I ran across, or into, Stanhope three or four times at the LP's national convention. Every time that happened, it seemed to me that he was the only person in his immediate area -- and sometimes there were presidential candidates within arms' reach -- talking anything resembling sense.
When I was down on him, I wrote:
A comedian who has never been elected to prior public office running for the presidency of the United States is, and will be seen as ... a joke.
Looking back at that statement, I can't believe how badly I was missing the point. Politics is a joke. A bad one. Voters might respond well to someone who points that out to them, if he's funny when he does so.
Personally, I hope the guy makes a run at in 2012. I think he could do it without sweating all the campaign finance fuckery that worried him out of the race this time. He could just announce that he's a candidate ... and then go about his business as usual. No fundraising, just making a living talking the way he always talks anyway. Think Pat Paulsen with a bad attitude and a head full of MDMA.
It could work.