Fox News' Chris Wallace is one of the moderators of the long prayed-for final GOP debate before the January 3 Iowa Caucus. And on December 14, Wallace had some interesting things to say on the Neil Cavuto show re everyone's favorite scrappy libertarian doctor:
According to Raw Story.com, with video at the link:
"The Ron Paul people are not going to like my saying this," Wallace began. "But to a certain degree, it will discredit the Iowa caucuses because, rightly or wrongly, I think most of the Republican establishment thinks he's not going to end up as the nominee."
"So therefore, Iowa won't count," he added. "It would certainly be a knock to Gingrich because, you know, right now he was the frontrunner — or a week ago he was the big frontrunner in this state so it would be missed opportunity for him."
This could be mere horse race talk, or depressing realism, and it's quite true that certain Republicans, especially of the David Frum variety as Matt Welch noted below, are horrified by the prospect of the good doctor as president.
But check out this clip from way back in 2007 where debate moderator Wallace suggests that Paul's desire to bring the troops home from Iraq means he advocates "taking our marching orders from Al-Qaeda."
Paul is in fine form and refuses to let his opinions be spun, declaring to strong applause "we should take our marching orders from the constitution." (There's some booing later, though, when he describes the Iraq War as illegal.) It's not that Wallace disagrees with Paul's foreign policy, it's that his grandstanding is rather Giuliani-esque.
Yes, the myth of journalistic objectivity and all that. But let's just see how Wallace does tonight (9 p.m. on Fox News. You want to say no, but you're going to give in and watch.)
To be fair, Wallace seems to do at better interviewing Paul in person, as he did last month.
Or maybe it's just that Paul's hard-won, but seemingly abrupt (if you weren't previously interested in libertarian ideas) legitimacy this election cycle is just irresistible. Even if Iowa, where Paul is breathing down Newt Gingrich's neck, "won't count," the congressman has won by bringing more mainstream attention to libertarianism than even a young optimistic person like me ever thought possible. Which is why I am going to grit my teeth one more time and watch the damn debate tonight.
Check out all of Reason's Ron Paul reporting here.