Should Ron Paul Run as a Third-Party Candidate?

Glenn Beck and Joe Scarborough said if Newt Gringrich wins the nomination, they would rather vote for the Texas Congressman. 
Wed December 14, 2011 11:12 pm
Cheryl Senter | Associated Press

Should Ron Paul be the new Ross Perot? Glenn Beck and Joe Scarborough say yes.

On Tuesday's Morning Joe , Scarborough said if Newt Gingrich wins the GOP nomination, and Ron Paul decided to run as a third-party candidate, he’d give Ron Paul a "long look,"  Mediaite reported. Scarborough found a choice between Barack Obama and Gingrich untenable "because I can't vote for the two guys who worship at the alter of big government in their own different ways,” he said.

He predicted Paul could scoop up from five to fifteen percent of the vote, which would reelect Obama, but, Scarborough claims, because Gingrich is "not a small-government conservative,” the former speaker of the house “reelects Barack Obama under any scenario.”

Scarborough's declaration of support came a day after Glenn Beck announced he would do the same thing if Ron Paul were to run as a third-party candidate. "If I had a gun to my head, I'll vote for Mitt Romney," Beck said. "If it's Newt Gingrich, and there's a third party, and it's Ron Paul. And I don't agree with his Middle Eastern policy at all, I might consider Ron Paul as a third party."

So far, these comments seem to be less about Paul's appeal and more about conservative disgust over Newt Gingrich. (Scarborough and Beck are hardly alone in their distaste for Newt. The New Yorker 's Ryan Lizza collected the disgusted reactions of ten prominent conservatives in response to Gingrich's status as GOP frontrunner: "Conservative opinion writers are competing in something of an arms race to see who can describe Newt Gingrich, whom most of them despise, in the most apocalyptic terms," Lizza wrote.) 
 
In his Washington Times column, Brett Decker slammed Beck for even suggesting a third-party candidacy. "A third-party presence from the right in the 2012 election would bring about conservative defeat and marginalize the movement for years," he wrote. Paul wouldn't dare "break up the elephant herd," Decker wrote, because four more years of Obama would be bad for his pet policies. 
 
Moreover, if Paul did enter the race, he would destroy the promising political future of his son, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. "He also knows making an independent bid would be bad for his son, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, a rising star who has unlimited potential as a national leader and perhaps could be a party standard-bearer himself one day. A third-party candidacy by Ron would sew up an Obama victory and poison the GOP well for Rand’s future," Decker wrote.

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