Go ahead.  Act surprised:

It’s official: Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, will seek the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, he announced Friday on Good Morning America.

“At this moment I am officially announcing that I am a candidate for president in the Republican primary,” Paul said. “Time has come around to the point where the people are agreeing with much of what I’ve been saying for 30 years, so I think the time is right.”

Paul, a mouthpiece for all things small-government, has made the presidential leap of faith twice before: In 1988, as the Libertarian Party nominee, and in 2008, as a dark horse Republican with incomparable niche appeal and formidable fundraising prowess.

Hey, it’s the first time that I can recall that someone announced their bid the day after they effectively killed it.  Insisting that he would have asked the same Pakistani government that won’t cut ties with Mullah Omar and the terrorist network that conducted the Mumbai massacre to, pretty please, arrest Osama bin Laden reduced Paul’s level of seriousness as a candidate to, er, the same level it’s always been.  Only the true believers will support that kind of befuddled thinking in a Commander in Chief, and even some of those might have second thoughts — although not in the comments section to this post, I’ll boldly predict.

The former record, by the way, was held by Joe Biden, who managed to wait for a few minutes after the announcement to kill his candidacy in 2007.

But even putting that aside, and putting aside the issue of his flirtations with white supremacists and anti-Semites for almost two decades in his subscription newsletter (and a donation scandal in 2007, too), why would anyone take him seriously anyway?  MSNBC calls him the “the Tea Party godfather,” which is ludicrous.  Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin did far more for the Tea Party than Paul ever did, and Bachmann is also exploring a Presidential bid.  Paul is a crank that routinely ends up on the wrong end of lopsided votes and has had zero success building coalitions in Congress.  And let’s not forget that the last time America elected a President from the House of Representatives was over 130 years ago, and that in his mid-70s, Paul would be the oldest major-party candidate if he somehow managed to win the primary.

And wouldn’t that campaign look glorious indeed?  The DNC would have a field day running quotes from Paul’s past newsletter gems in a campaign against the nation’s first African-American President.

So, go ahead and act surprised — and then have yourself a good laugh.

Update: Changed “Congress” to “the House of Representatives” for better clarity.