The problem with Ron Paul is that his isolationism would actually probably lose him a lot more votes then he'd gain.
I don't disagree that a majority of players on the conservative side want to be everywhere in the world, securing their 'freedoms'. I just believe that War is getting increasingly unpopular in this country. Even from the conservative side. We've essentially been in the Middle East stirring the pot since the Gulf War in the early 90s. (And people are shocked Middle East dislikes the United States).
Liberals, COULD switch over, but likely won't due to Paul not supporting a federal stance on marriage and such, and most damaging of all, the Flat tax.
I think he has a pretty much a state stance on all forms of everything. I think people if they realistically took a moment to think about it, would prefer that approach. It gives peoples voices a much greater chance of being heard at a state level. And Obama isn't touching the federal stance on marriage he is riding the fence.
Furhermore, conservatives could sit home... or actually vote for Obama. A lot of Republicans are "Security first" and Pau's isolatonism would make Obama look all the more attractive.
Republicans view Obama as Democrats viewed Bush. That won't happen. Mind you, I still believe Obama will win simply because the Republicans are obsessed with trotting some moron out there.
Libretarinism doesn't really have a chance to take over unless more people become invested in government policy and in general read research and studies... and understand how to read them. There is a reason why Libretarinism is fairly small yet it's way overrepresented in things like MENSA.
I disagree with the notion that it doesn't have a chance to take over, in the near future. Looking across history there has been drastic shifts in public opinion at periods of time. I think we're seeing that a bit with the whole Tea Party movement ordeal which voted in a lot of Representatives.
But I understand and agree with your point regarding people actually paying attention to the political process. That as you said is probably unlikely. However, I will say that change usually only really occurs when people reach a boiling point and decide to try something different. Plus it's not like Ron Paul is a communist or something. We will have to see how he fairs in New Hampshire. If he can take a strong second place, he might just have a chance.
I mean dang... hard to get more libretarian.
Interesting read right there.