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Did Ron Paul Definitively Rule Out a Third Party Run on Leno Last Night?

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

But then...

"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."

[laughing]

Paul: "I'm running for this Republican primary!"

Baier: "That sounds pretty political, Congressman."

[more laughing]

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...

Speculation Mounts That Ron Paul Will Launch Third Party Presidential Bid On Tuesday’s Tonight Show, Mediaite

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.)

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This strikes me as wishful

This strikes me as wishful thinking. I'm not trying to be insulting, but the reality is a third party, write-in, independent, whatever run would serve no purpose but to further inform people. Winning is officially out of the equation with the coronations of the major parties, he all but acknowledged that only the major parties have a shot on Leno, "I’ll tell you what: the system is very biased. We talk a lot about democracy. We send our troops overseas. We want to spread democracy. But democracy isn’t all that healthy in this country because, if you’re in a third party, an alternate party, you don’t get in the debates. The truth is, if I would have tried in the last several years to do exactly what I have done in a third party, I probably wouldn’t...have made it to your show."

With the 2012 electoral vote count Paul would instantly lose 100 electoral votes right of the bat to sore loser laws, a write in campaign would knock off about 40 more, there's only 538 to start with and you need 270 to win, those are some ugly numbers considering the party loyalist vote which doesn't leave much up for grabs. http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2012/president/2012_...

The cost to run a new campaign, which is what it would be since he'd leaving the party, would be huge, not to mention if Doug Wead was serious there would be a blitzkrieg style attack on Paul's character. I'm aware that kind of attack wouldn't change peoples minds who are already Paul fans, but to those dipping their feet in the water or who aren't supporters at all it's a nail in the coffin. Do you remember when the newsletter's hit the MSM cycle this year? Paul said, “I did not write them, I did not read them at the time, and I disavow them.” and there was no new information that could come from them. I can't speak for everyone, but the people I know who weren't Paul fans certainly questioned his credibility after the newsletters hit the mainstream.

"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."

It seems to me Occam's razor is necessary, isn't it equally plausible that by saying he has "no plans" to run third party it in fact means that he has no plans to run? If you take his insinuation's and the words of campaign adviser's he's done running this race, he quit campaigning in earnest in May. However if you want to speculate and keep hope alive more power too you. I wish Paul would've have won too, and Rand might be a good choice in the future but Johnson's the best choice for the present in my opinion.

I agree with most of what you say here

But you seem to have missed the point of the original post in this thread.

The only point was to explain that Ron Paul appears to have made a deliberate point of not saying "no, absolutely not", instead giving his typical response that he gives when he doesn't want to fully close to door on something.

Why he did this -- especially in light of the very real ballot access issues that you mention -- is anyone's guess, but he seems to have done it.

As I made clear, I do not personally think he has a secret plan to run, nor do I think he will make one.

You ask, "isn't it equally plausible that by saying he has 'no plans' to run third party it in fact means that he has no plans to run?"

Yes, as I said, I think it does mean that. I think when he gives that answer he gives it honestly.

It matters not that he left the door open concerning his

intention.

But he doesn't control the door that puts him on the ballot.

That door is closed.

It is irrelevant if Dr. Paul WANTED to run and announced it on Leno.

HE CAN'T - because he can not get on the ballot now.

IT IS TOO LATE.

Why is this FACT so difficult for people to understand? Why don't any of you do any research into ballot deadlines before mouthing off?

He said he was going to go

He said he was going to go home and rest up for 2016. I'm not sure he was serious about 2016 but I think he was serious about staying home and resting a while. He said a third party candidate does not have a chance because they will not be allowed in the debates.It's time to face the truth. Ron Paul will not be president in 2012. He is not going to run third party.

Bump

Bump

wow

Dude, give it up

He ain't runnin'!
let's move on...

Love how you love to tell people what to do, no doubt

out of concern for them not "'wasting their time." I love concern trolls against Paul.

He said "not much." THAT MEANS "A LITTLE."

OP, EXELLENT ANALYSIS OF PAUL'S SKILLFUL HEDGING OF WORDS. If he had wanted to say "absolutely not" that's exactly what he would have said.

Release the Sandy Hook video.

YES HE DID..!!! Now stop

YES HE DID..!!! Now stop with these dumb threads...

If you disagree with me on anything you are not a real libertarian...

This is not a reasonable response at all, "Brian Middleton"

If you disagree with my thoughtful post explain why instead of typing in all caps and calling it "dumb".

It IS a reasonable response

It IS a reasonable response to your underlying premise which isn't based on anything other than pure speculation, notwithstanding evidence to the contrary.

Not only did he say NO to the 3rd party question and that he needs REST, but you left out the key follow up from Leno:

Leno: "I mean, why NOT give it a shot (3rd party)"?

Paul: "third party?"

Leno: "Sure"

Paul "I'll tell you why." "The system is very biased. We talk a lot about democracy etc."

Does that sound like a maybe or a yes to running 3rd party?? When in fact he EXPLAINS why he isn't running.

What you are doing is dishonest dishonest and exactly what the media did to Paul. Twist and turn a no into a maybe, then a yes...

Let's ignore the sore loser rules, and that he can't even get on every State's ballot, but those facts just seem to escape the people that are dreaming based on ZERO evidence, and in spite of him CONSTANTLY saying NO, he has NO intention of running as 3rd party, and he does NOT want to. This somehow turns into a maybe, then a yes..f fcfffffff

At 9:45 min here.. go hear what he has consitently said..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-gZOm0DSoc

Now what the media did, and everyone were furious about was turned that into a "maybe, then yes" Now you are doing the same thing.

This has been addressed many time snow, throughout countless nonsensical wishful thinking threads.... now ..... put it to rest..

If you disagree with me on anything you are not a real libertarian...

Your response is hypocritical, dishonest, and empty.

As usual you ascribe your own behavior to whoever you want to bully and demonize (in this case me). You accuse me of being "dishonest", "lea[ving] out key" parts of quotes, and "twisting and turning" Paul's words. I've done nothing of the sort, and you are doing these very things yourself, to Paul and to me.

1. You assert that Dr. Paul "[said] NO to the 3rd party question". No, he didn't. He was asked if there is "any chance" that he will "run as a third party", to which he replied, "Uh, no, not much. I have to take a rest and prepare for 2016. (Laughs, cheers from crowd). Just kidding. (Laughs)." In the OP of this thread I explain in detail why I feel, based on context and precedent, that this response is not the same as a flat "no" (let alone a flat "NO"). You've done nothing to refute that argument. (It's also clearly not a "yes", or anything more than a very weak maybe [i.e. there is "not much" of a chance], as I make clear)

2. You assert that Dr. Paul said "NO to the 3rd party question and that he needs REST". However, as I said in the OP, and as you well know, the actual quote was, "I have to take a rest and prepare for 2016. (Laughs, cheers from crowd). Just kidding. (Laughs)". His comment about needing rest was in the context of a joke, not a serious answer about whether or not he was going to run third party. You removed the joke and the context.

3. You say that when Jay asks him "why not" give a third party run a shot, Paul begins his answer with "I'll tell you why". However, I'm pretty sure he says "I'll tell you what...", and then is interrupted by shouting from the crowd. People can listen to it here. I just rewound it several times, and I'm pretty sure he says, "what", not "why" as you claim. At the very least you cannot say for sure that it is "why". (And even if he did say "why", that STILL doesn't make this quote what you try to make it, see below).

4. You accuse me of leaving out "the key follow up from Leno". Ironically, you then go on to quote only the first part of it (i.e., the part that you think makes your case best), while "leaving out" the rest. Here is the full "follow up" that you find so "key":

LENO: I mean why not give it a shot?

PAUL: Third party?

LENO: Sure.

PAUL: I'll tell ya [what]...

(Yelling from audience)

PAUL: The system is very biased. We talk a lot about democracy, we send our troops overseas, we want to spread democracy. But, democracy isn't all that healthy in this country, because, uh, if you're in a third party, [unintelligible] party, um, you don't get in the debates. The truth is, if I would have tried in the past several years to try to do exactly what I, you know, have done, in a third party, I probably wouldn't have gotten-- wouldn't made it to your show. But there is, there is, uh, ya know, something about it that-- and if you ever come to a conclusion that, heaven forbid, that the parties aren't all that different, then what is left?

Does anyone think this is a definitive statement one way or another about the possibility of him running third party (even if he did say "why" instead of "what" at the beginning of his answer, which I don't think he did)? Do you, "Brian Middleton"? You are the one trying to make that case. You are the one trying to turn this into a definitive "NO". I contend that this is Dr. Paul being Dr. Paul, commenting generally on the failings of the two party system, and that it is you, not me, who is trying to spin this to put words (absolute "NO to the 3rd party question") in his mouth here.

5. You say, "What you are doing is dishonest dishonest [sic] and exactly what the media did to Paul. Twist and turn a no into a maybe, then a yes..." Huh? I'm trying to turn Paul's comments into "a yes"? I'm doing nothing of the sort. My position, laid out clearly in the OP, is that he could have and likely would have given a definitive "no" if he wanted to, but that he chose not to, consciously leaving the door cracked open (and only cracked open), even though there is "not much" of a chance that he will end up running third party, exactly as he said. It's pretty hard to argue with this, which is probably why you resort to these kinds of straw man tactics instead.

6. You (somewhat hilariously) link to a video which you say represents "what [Ron Paul] has consistently said" about running third party. AGREED! This video is a prime example of EXACTLY what I talk about in the OP! Here is the transcript:

WALLACE: Finally, you have recently been leaving the door open to again to running as an independent if you don't win the Republican nomination. I want to take you back though to a conversation that you and I had two months ago here on "Fox News Sunday." Let's watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: I have no intention of doing that. That doesn't make any sense to me, to even think about it, let alone plan to do that.

WALLACE: Because?

PAUL: Because I don't want to do it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: You like that answer.

WALLACE: Yeah, I loved the answer then, I love it now. So my question is, where are you? What you're saying now, which is, I will decide later, or I have no intention to doing it because I don't want to do it.

PAUL: I'll give the same answer: I don't want to do it. I have no plans on doing it. I want to see how well I do. I'm doing pretty darned well....

Alright, done deal then, right? No plans! No intention! Doesn't even make sense to THNK ABOUT it! Doesn't want to do it! The door is shut, then, right? He is saying "NO", he definitely WILL NOT run, right? Wrong. It continues:

WALLACE: I know you are [doing well as a Republican]. But are you leaving the door open or are you not leaving the door open?

PAUL: I'm not an absolutist. You know, when I left Congress, I had no intention whatsoever to going back. But, 12, 15 years -- if I'd have said, I will NEVER return to Congress, you know, it would have closed the door. But I have no plans. Everybody knows I have no intention of doing that. It would be a bit of a burden. And besides, I don't want to do it.

GOT THAT? This is EXACTLY what I pointed out in the O.P. "No plans", "no intention", etc. are his (honest) stock answers when talking about something that he has not yet made his mind up on one way or another. Sometimes he can just give those answers and move on, but not always. In this interview, he gives them, but then when he is finally pinned down and asked point blank if he will shut the door, he deliberately doesn't do it. Just like on Leno.

7. You bring up "sore loser" laws and ballot access issues, and talk about these facts escaping "people". I'm sure they do for some, but I'm not one of them, so it seems like you're just making yet another straw man argument. I didn't say Paul was going to run, and in fact I said that I think he "not much" of a chance that he will. Ballot access concerns are legitimate. This does not negate my argument that he has thus far avoided being an "absolutist" (in his words) and 100% closing the door on running, perhaps just in case someone finds a way of overcoming the ballot issues in a significant number of the "problem" states, or in case he decides it's worth it regardless as an educational or long-term strategic exercise.

Do I personally think he'll ultimately decide to do it? Again, NO. Your posts are pugnacious/inflammatory non-sense that don't address what I actually wrote.

Wanna bet he ain't running?

Wanna bet he ain't running?

If you disagree with me on anything you are not a real libertarian...

Haha

Me: "Do I personally think he'll ultimately decide to [run third party]? Again, NO. Your posts are pugnacious/inflammatory non-sense that don't address what I actually wrote."

Brian Middleton: "Wanna bet he ain't running?"

I rest my case.

Good. Because I really don't

Good. Because I really don't wanna waste my time over reading through your overly lengthy posts over a non-issue..

If you disagree with me on anything you are not a real libertarian...

I know I will get beat up humanic but......

I totally agree with you.

Me

too!

" In Thee O Lord do I put my trust " ~ Psalm 31:1~

Thanks ohionurse

I think I provided a reasonable analysis. That does not mean that everyone has to agree with it, of course. I welcome disagreement; just not inflammatory hand-waving, straw man arguments, or empty insults. So, don't mind bullies like Brian Middleton. That is his M.O. I've watched him for months. Don't let those types shut down civil discussion.