Is Ron Paul going to squander his political capital?

Like Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul finally appears ready to admit the fact that he’s not going to be the Republican presidential nominee. That doesn’t mean, however, the Texas Congressman’s ready to jump into line and support the party’s eventual standard-bearer: Paul told Washington DC radio station WMAL yesterday he has yet to decide on the matter.

“I haven’t decided yet,” he said when asked whether he’ll support the nominee. His hesitation comes from general discomfort with the GOP’s current policies. “I want us to stand for something… It’s tough in a Republican base where many don’t have concerns about civil liberties.”

He also remarked on Paul Ryan’s budget, saying, “We have a debt crisis worldwide, and we’re trying to solve it by spending more.”

Paul’s plan has always been to snatch up enough delegates to guarantee prime placement at the August convention in Tampa. Though he has not totally fulfilled that goal — the New York Times says he has only 51; CNN puts the number at 71 — the congressman’s ties with the increasingly powerful libertarian movement should be credential enough for the party at large to include him in the nominating festivities. That is, of course, if he stays largely loyal to their ways and means of governing.

If Paul decides to go rogue on them and blast the GOP’s platform, he’ll find himself even more marginalized than he already is, a position that would threaten the 76-year old’s political legacy. While being a straight talker is his greatest asset, it may also become a handicap for Paul moving forward.