Ron Paul probably disappointed some of his followers in yesterday’s interview on Fox News Sunday, when he told Chris Wallace that there is no chance of him launching an independent bid for President if he fails to win the nomination. Paul gets a laugh out of Wallace after the newsman asked why, and he says, “Because I don’t want to!” Most Republicans are probably breathing a sigh of relief, however, at his nearly unequivocal rejection of the idea (via Greg Hengler):
I say nearly unequivocal because Paul frames his answer in the present tense. Of course no current primary candidate will entertain a notion of an independent bid; it would be electoral suicide. It doesn’t make sense to think about it now or plan for it before the first caucus arrives, certainly, but Paul has plenty of cash to think about it later. However, he’s pretty adamant about not wanting to go rogue in the fall of 2012 in this answer.
That doesn’t exactly mean that Paul will be cheering the eventual nominee, either, as he explains in this clip, and that made some news, too:
But Paul said that if he’s not the nominee, he’s not certain that he would support the GOP nominee.
“Probably not unless I get to talk to them and find out what they believe in. But if they believe on expanding the wars, if they don’t believe in looking at the Federal Reserve; if they don’t believe in real cuts, if they don’t believe in deregulation and better tax system, it would defy everything I believe in,” Paul said.
“And so, therefore, I would be reluctant to jump on board and tell all of the supporters that have given me trust and money that all of a sudden, I’d say, all we’ve done is for naught. So, let’s support anybody at all … even if they disagree with everything that we do,” Paul added.
How about thinking as he does on foreign policy? In another part of the interview not shown here, Paul again rejected the idea that a nuclear Iran would be much of a threat:
Asked Sunday about U.S. policy on Iran in light of reports that Tehran continues striving to build a nuclear weapon, Paul called for a diplomatic approach rather than any kind of harsh or militaristic response.
Instead of sanctions or backing an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities, Paul said, the United States should change its approach to the Iranian government by “maybe offering friendship to them.”
“I mean, didn’t we talk to the Soviets, didn’t we talk to the Chinese?” he asked of U.S. relations with nuclear-armed superpowers.
The former Soviet Union had much greater nuclear capabilities than the Iranians, who “can’t make enough gasoline for themselves,” Paul noted.
“For them to be a threat to us or to anybody in the region, I think, is just blown out of proportion,” he added. “People are anxious to use violence against the Iranians. I think it would undermine our security. I think it would be very destructive to Israel, because this is going to blow that place up.”
So anyone who believes that a nuclear-armed mullahcracy in Tehran is a real threat won’t get Paul’s endorsement? The bad news is that no other Republican will get Paul’s backing, if that’s the case. The good news is that no Democrat will, either, and I suspect even the Libertarian nominee might have a qualm or two about echoing Paul on this point.