Gee, this seems so …. familiar:

Donald Trump will “probably” run as an independent candidate for U.S. President in 2012 if he does not receive the Republican party’s nomination, he told the Wall Street Journal in a video interview on Monday. …

“I am very conservative,” said Mr. Trump. “The concern is if I don’t win [the GOP primary] will I run as an independent, and I think the answer is probably yes.” Mr. Trump said he thought he “could possibly win as an independent,” adding, “I’m not doing it for any other reason. I like winning.”

As for foreign policy, Mr. Trump said he is “only interested in Libya if we take the oil,” and that if he were President, “I would not leave Iraq and let Iran take over the oil.” He remains sharply critical of the Chinese, asserting that as President, “I would tell China that you’re either going to shape up, or I’m going to tax you at 25% for all the products you send into this country.”

The only difference between Trump and H. Ross Perot seems to be that Perot was a better businessman. About four minutes into the interview, Kelly Evans hits Trump on his flirtations with bankruptcy over the years. Trump insists that he never filed for bankruptcy, which is true in terms of his personal finances, although Trump came close enough to it.  His businesses were another matter.  Trump’s Taj Mahal casino had to go through bankruptcy, which cost Trump half of the casino.  The Trump Plaza Hotel next went through bankruptcy, which caused him to lose 49% of the hotel and resign from its management.  Two years ago, Trump Entertainment Resorts filed for Chapter 11, and in 2008 his Trump International Tower in Chicago defaulted on a $40 million loan.  In response, Trump blamed the global economic collapse and tried to have it declared an Act of God to relieve himself of responsibility for the default.

That’s not exactly a great track record for a chief executive.  It’s worth noting that his own investors have booted him from management at these holdings after his risk-taking and failures.

Otherwise, this is a second coming of Perot.  Trump has the money (at least for now) to mount a vanity campaign as a third-party alternative to the two major-party nominees.  This would end up splitting the anti-Obama vote and set the President up for an easy re-election through a popular-vote plurality that would translate into an overwhelming Electoral College majority.  Liberals are not going to flock to Trump’s side for any reason, which means whatever Trump draws will come directly from those who were already inclined to vote against Obama.  It would be a nightmare scenario for Republicans in this cycle, a sort of Charlie Crist on steroids and junk bonds but with a viable Democratic opponent in the mix.

The GOP should nip this in the bud now.  Can we agree that the starting position for anyone seeking the Republican nomination is that they will support the outcome of the primaries?

Update: Aaron Worthing says it’s all about the combover.