Is Ron Paul the Republican Ralph Nader?

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I hear Nader is considering running. Is a Nader-Paul ticket in the works? If Buchanan and Nader were able to work together I see nothing preventing Nader and Paul allying against the evil forces of “corporatism.”

[From the New York Sun]

Ron Paul could be the Ralph Nader of 2008. Only this time, a third-party candidacy could hurt the Republicans, not the Democrats.

For now, Mr. Paul’s campaign is dismissing talk of a run as anything other than a Republican, and the candidate himself is focused on the primaries. “Ron’s committed to running for the Republican nomination or nothing,” a spokesman for Mr. Paul, Jesse Benton, said. Mr. Paul, who ran as a Libertarian presidential candidate in 1988, said the same to the Wall Street Journal last month. Nevertheless, the relative success the Texas congressman is having on the campaign trail has political observers envisioning how a Paul third-party candidacy would shake out.

The possibility of a candidacy by Mr. Paul on the Libertarian ticket began being discussed in earnest after last month’s Republican debate in Michigan, when Chris Matthews of MSNBC asked him if he promised to back the Republican nominee. “Not right now I don’t,” he said, adding, “Not unless they’re willing to end the war and bring our troops home, not unless they’re willing to look at excessive spending.” In an election that pitted, say, Mayor Giuliani against Senator Clinton, at whom the anti-war movement has bristled, Mr. Paul might find a rationale for a candidacy. And given Mr. Paul’s strong fund-raising numbers during the third quarter of 2007, his campaign having garnered $5.2 million and possessing $5.4 million of cash on hand, he has outperformed expectations.

“Would he hurt the Republicans? The answer is yes. Could he hurt them somewhat in the Deep South?” a Democratic strategist, Hank Sheinkopf, said. “Could he do to them what Ralph Nader did to the Democrats in 2000? The answer is yes.”

Mr. Paul’s presence is currently making itself felt on the Internet, where he is raising almost 80% of his money, and on the ground in New Hampshire, where his sign-holding supporters are a frequent sight on the campaign trail. In New Hampshire, Mr. Paul’s campaign has distributed a direct mail piece and produced radio and television ads giving informed Republicans the sense that he may finish as high as third place in the Granite State, which Patrick Buchanan won in 1996 with a somewhat similar, though not identical, angry outsider message.

[continue reading]

John Podhoretz writes on this topic here. He is much kinder to Paul and the Paulistas than I was in previous posts. I disagree with Podhoretz that much of Paul’s support is coming from the loony-left. Instead, the Paulistas are an amalgam of paranoid populists, loony Libertarians, isolationist nativists, and a hodgepodge of conspiracy theorists ranging from anti-Federal Reserve “sound money” types to 9-11 “truthers.” A big tent, for sure. But will it hold together? I suspect not. Especially after his supporters realize how pitiful Paul’s support is in the real world, i.e. off the Internet. However, if the Paulistas somehow convince a sizable chunk of the social conservative movement to support Paul, they could emerge as a force to be reckoned with. Without their support, Paul will likely continue to poll single digits nationally.

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One response »

  1. I like the thought of Ron Paul Naderising the Republican vote. (The left like to think Bush “stole” the 2000 election, but if all those nice lefties hadn’t voted for Nader, he wouldn’t have been able to.)

    However, I think that, sadly, Podhoretz is right to say that a lot of Paul’s support comes from the left. The number of left-leaning people I’ve had e-mails from expressing interest in him, the number of pro-Ron Paul posts I’ve seen at anarchist discussion boards and comments threads – there’s certainly a sizeable pro-Paul left out there.

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