From the “careful what you wish for” department: Bill Kristol says the Republican party would be better off without Ron Paul and he hopes the candidate leaves and runs a third party campaign for the presidency:
A lot of people when they criticize Ron Paul have to preface their criticism by saying, ‘you know, he’s good guy, he brings a lot to the debate,’” Bill Kristol said on C-SPAN. “I actually don’t buy that. I do not think he’s a particular good guy . . . I think it would be better for the Republican party, if he left the Republican party.” …
“[Buchanan] left the party in 1999 and a lot of people, and I was one of them, said, goodbye and good riddance, you’re not in the mainstream of the Republican party, go run as some Reform party candidate . . . he did in 2000 and he didn’t get many votes and actually George W. Bush I think was helped—and the Republican party was helped—to be free of Buchanan’s extreme isolationism, protectionism, anti-Israel views, and the like. Ron Paul is a little different from Pat Buchanan—but he’s no better, in my view. And I actually think we’d benefit in the long run—but even in the short run . . .”
The boss concluded: “I don’t think anyone should plead with him not to run or to stay in the party. I would be comfortable in a general election if Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum as the Republican in the Reagan tradition and debating both Barack Obama and Ron Paul.”
You know who else would be comfortable with that? Barack Obama. If Ron Paul runs in the general election as an independent or on a third party ticket, his reelection is guaranteed. Obama’s campaign leaders would be doing back flips if that happens. Want evidence for that assertion? Look at this Pew survey:
The survey finds that a third-party campaign by Ron Paul would clearly work to Obama’s advantage: In this scenario, 44% of registered voters say they would favor Obama, 32% would back Romney and 18% would back Paul. Paul has repeatedly said he is not contemplating a third-party run, but has not ruled it out. While most of Paul’s backing in a three-person race comes from independent voters, they are independents who disproportionately lean Republican. A Paul candidacy would also appeal to many conservative Republicans, siphoning votes from the core Republican base as well.
This is a dream scenario for Democrats. To paraphrase the Divinyls, when they think about it, they touch themselves.