So. Mark Levin has returned from vacation, and in his characteristic low-key style has immediately announced he would not ignore the elephant in the room that everyone else seems to be so desperately trying to ignore.
The elephant in the room?
That would be?
That would be Congressman Ron Paul's refusal to rule out a third party run for president if he loses the Republican presidential nomination. And the not so coincidental relationship Levin sees with Senator Rand Paul's future career.
Considering that Congressman Paul has already once left the GOP -- with much fanfare in 1987 -- and then shown up as the Libertarian Party candidate for president in 1988, he has already amply demonstrated his willingness play hardball politics and throw the GOP under the bus if he doesn't get his way. In the December 16th debate with other GOP candidates Paul was asked the question directly and refused to rule it out. Wrote Boston Globe reporter Michael Levenson of Paul's debate refusal to rule out a third party run:
Paul has made similar comments in the past. On "Meet the Press," last Sunday, for example, he said he was not thinking about a third-party run, but left the option open.
"I have enough on my plate right now," Paul said. "We have a lot of campaigning to do. We're going to be very busy the next couple of weeks. That's what I'm concentrating on, and we'll see what happens."
Meaning, even as Iowans go to their Caucuses tonight Paul refuses to say he will accept the verdict of the conservative rank-and-file voting base of the party if he doesn't like the verdict in Iowa and the succeeding primaries.
First, in an interview with ABC's Terry Moran, Paul admits to Moran that, well, gee, no. Actually he -- Ron Paul -- doesn't really see Ron Paul in the Oval Office. But in spite of this admission to Moran, Paul is not ruling out a third party run, as he made in 1988.
Second. Mark Levin has raised a serious point of interest here that didn't apply when Paul left the GOP the first time to run third party. This time there is another Paul in the picture -- Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul, Ron Paul's son.
Taking his cue from Ron Paul's willingness to play hard ball with the GOP, Levin played right back. Said Levin:
Let me make myself clear. I love my country. I love the Constitution. I love my family. And I believe with all my heart and soul that four more years of Obama is a disaster to all three of them.
And if some egomaniac who knows he cannot win chooses to run as a third party, I will do everything in my power, as limited as it is, to fight them every damn step of the way. And -- if Ron Paul decides that he is going to go third party, which is detrimental to this nation, and pulls a million votes -- which is relatively insignificant in the big scheme of things -- I will do everything in my power to defeat his son in Kentucky. I will do everything in my power to defeat his son Rand Paul in Kentucky.
Wow. Hardball indeed.
Mixing metaphors that's not only calling attention to the elephant in the room, it's getting the elephant's attention with a Louisville slugger right between the eyes.
Rand Paul, unlike father Ron, is a conservative favorite. And displaying a superb sense of family values Senator Paul has been out there working his heart out for his father in a standard intra-party nomination skirmish. For that Rand Paul should be applauded. No one should ever expect other than loyalty of a son to a father, and Rand Paul has shown himself to be stellar in this area.
The problem, though, is the obvious. If Ron Paul loses the GOP nomination as all but one other as yet undetermined candidate will do -- and leaves the GOP for a second time to run as a third party nominee, re-electing Obama as a result -- this no longer becomes a question of son/father loyalty in an intra-party primary fight. It will in fact morph instantly into an issue of Ron Paul's disloyalty to a GOP that took him back after he left the first time -- and provided him with all the benefits of party membership as a Member of Congress. And in that case -- if a Republican senator, son or no son -- indicates he too will abandon the GOP for a third party and that third party is seen as re-electing a socialist president, Levin's point instantly kicks in.
The entire Kentucky electorate will be turned upside down as Republicans and conservatives all around the country seek to do in Senator Paul's re-election -- both as a Republican or anything else. It would be decidedly un-pretty -- and a decided and entirely purposeless waste of a promising Senate career that could in fact lead to a later Rand Paul nomination for president.
So Levin has, in typical style, called Ron Paul out.
What happens after all the caucus and primary ballots are counted -- and Not Ron Paul is the GOP nominee?
We'll see, won't we?
In the meantime, kudos to Mark Levin for getting the subject out there for discussion. For forthrightly tying the future career of Rand Paul to the current post-nomination career of Ron Paul.
This is why Mark Levin has such a loyal audience. He never ducks.
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