As Rep. Ron Paul’s poll numbers continue to advance in Iowa and New Hampshire, his role in the nominating process for the Republican presidential candidate continues to expand. However, that might upset some establishment Republicans, who will be out to marginalize Paul should his role get too big.
And according to Pat Buchanan, that is what happened to him in 1992 and 1996 when he ran for president and began to get traction, especially after winning the New Hampshire primary in 1996. In an appearance on Fox Business Network’s “Cavuto,” Buchanan explained how the establishment went after him.
“I’ll tell you what happens to you — you find out as Richard Nixon once told me that when you are down or have either got a problem you find out who your friends are,” Buchanan said. “And both in ‘92 and a ‘96 I was astonished. You know, I challenged George Bush and ‘92 and we did great in New Hampshire, and ol’ Newt Gingrich down there comparing me to David Duke in Georgia because I was coming out for a border fence along the San Diego line.”
In 1996, Buchanan said, “you had not only the big media come down on you with both feet, but your own people in your party. You can’t nominate this guy and all the rest of it, whereas you have been a loyal Republican all those years. It would be a terrible mistake to say that to Ron Paul.”
But should such bad politicking happen with the case of Ron Paul, Buchanan said he doubt the Texas congressman would go third party because of the damage it might do to his son Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul’s political future.
“I don’t think Ron Paul will go third party for a number of reasons,” Buchanan said. “One, his son has a tremendous future in the GOP, I think as a leader of the non-interventionists in the Senate, and if Ron Paul ran third-party, his son would be obligated to endorse him and that would terminate, I think, any future he had.”
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A third-party run by Paul would be bad for anyone who wanted to defeat President Barack Obama in 2012, Buchanan said.
“You lose half your support when you go out because awful lot of Republicans and conservatives and libertarians want to be rid of Obama and they realize the only one who can do that if the Republicans,” Buchanan said. “And I think a third-party run by Ron Paul would sink the GOP.” Buchanan predicted that would probably influence Paul’s decision-making process.
“And secondly, what will weigh upon him I think is, look we are not going to win this thing as a third-party candidate,” he said. “We’ll start diminishing our vote and we will probably sink the Republicans, and re-elect Barack Obama. And how does that help the cause in which I believe or can I help them more if I’m a defeated candidate but they give me the kind of speech that frankly they gave Pat Buchanan in 1992 and you make your case to the country for what you believe in.”
Buchanan’s suggestion: the Republican Party should give Paul a top speaking slot at its nominating convention next year.
“If I were Republican, I would say, ‘Ron, you get a top speaking slot in that convention because your point of view may not be a majority in terms of foreign policy, but you certainly are winning on number of other issues, and you deserve it,’” Buchanan said. “’You have won it.’”