Did Ron Paul Definitively Rule Out a Third Party Run on Leno Last Night?Submitted by humanic on Wed, 09/05/2012 - 19:08
This post is in response to the thread "Ron Paul Supporters, You Are Too Naive!", which is currently on the DailyPaul.com front page.
I basically agree with the author's points about occasional misplaced trust and/or support for people like Beck and Palin, and I think Rachael Maddow and numerous others could be added to that list as well. I've seen quite a few people here anxiously hail them as "converted" or "on our side" on the occasions that they make a relatively supportive statement or report, as though this cancels out their years of working to undermine or even smear Ron Paul and his supporters in various ways.
However, I don't agree with the author's inaccurate generalizing. The post is addressed to "Ron Paul Supporters" at large, and the author says that "we" are too quick to support anyone who says anything semi-positive about Paul or his policies. Yet, my experience has been that when anyone here begins singing the praises of one of these individuals, there are usually plenty of people who caution them to remember history, keep things in perspective, and not be so quick to assume they've "seen the light."
I also don't agree that "we should be able to conclude that [Ron Paul] is not going to run third party" based on his statements to date, at least not definitively.
Let's look quickly at his rhetoric in 2010 when he was asked if he would run for President again in 2012 at all.
"I have no plans to [run for President again in 2012]. That' s a long way off, and it's not very practical to do that. But, uh, I haven't absolutely said "no I will not", but right now I have no plans to do it." - DR. PAUL, Feb 2010, Fox News
"I am very serious about thinking about [running in 2012] all the time ... My answer is always the same thing: You know I haven't ruled it out, but I have no plans to do it." -DR. PAUL, July 2010, quoted by CNN
"Today, and at this moment, I am officially announicng that I am a candidate for president in the Republican primary." - DR. PAUL, May 2011, Good Morning America
What can we conclude from this? To me, there are a few things:
1) That "no plans" is Dr. Paul's standard (honest) answer when he is asked about something he has yet to decide on and does not want to commit to one way or the other yet.
2) This is true regardless of whether the proposition is only a remote possibility or whether he is "very seriously" considering it.
3) Sometimes, when he has "no plans" to do something, but is considering it, he goes on to make plans, and that something happens.
Now let's bring it up to 2011-2012, when he's asked about the potential of running third party or independent if he doesn't get the Republican nomination. Let's start with an interview from last year
WILLIAMS: "But what you're saying is you are not saying that you will not run as an Independent."
PAUL: "Well, I say, is that I have no plans to do it."
BAIER: "So, how about are you big on pledges? Would you pledge here tonight that you would not run in a third party?"
PAUL: "I pledge that I have no intention of doing it."
Paul: "I'm running for this Republican primary!"
Baier: "That sounds pretty political, Congressman."
Paul: "Well, you know, I have to vacillate a little bit in my life."
And in a January GOP debate (source)
"I have no plans to do that; no intention. And uh, when I've been pressed on it I said, 'Because I don't want to.' But, uh, I haven't been an absolutist. When I left on Congress I didn't have [m?]any plans on going back, but, uh, I did after twelve years; I went back to medicine."
So that brings us to last night on Leno. Jay asks Dr. Paul if there is "any chance" that he will "run as a third party". Paul's response:
Uh, no, not much. I have to take a rest and prepare for 2016. (Laughs, cheers from crowd). Just kidding. (Laughs)
He then goes on to talk about how things are unfairly stacked against people who run outside of the two party system.
For context, let's remember that Dr. Paul was and is well aware that there has been a lot of buzz recently about whether or not he'd try to run as an independent or third party candidate after the scripped fraud of a convention in Tampa. In fact, there have been widespread rumors that Dr. Paul has actually been considering it, and some prominent voices openly speculated that he might announce such plans on Leno's show. For example...
What will Ron Paul say on Leno? "Several Internet sites are repeating rumors that Ron Paul (R-Texas) will announce a third-party run for the White House." The New American
Dr. Paul was undoubtedly aware of this context, and if he wanted to completely squash these rumors he could have easily said no, I'm definitely not running. Absolutely not. There is no chance. Period. Or something to that extent.
Instead, he said that there was "not much" of a chance, and made a joke.
Does this mean that I think he is secretly planning on running? No. After following Dr. Paul closely since 2007, I think he answered the question honestly and accurately. I think there is "not much" of a chance that he will run third party or independent in 2012. However, given what I've laid out in this post, I do think he purposely kept the door cracked open; that it is a remote possibility in his mind; and, thus, that people declaring that he has definitively and absolutely ruled out a third party run are incorrect.
(Why he would do that in light of the very real ballot access problems is anyone's guess; I am only explaining that he appears to have done it. Again, I personally do not think he has plans to run, nor do I think he will make them, even as an educational venture.)