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Ron Paul and Paul-ism

He may not be the nominee. But there is another.

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Rand Paul speaks earlier this month as his father looks on.(Win McNamee/Getty Images)

J.J. Goldberg’s Forward column warns that the combination in the Republican Party of an unenthusiastically backed pro-Israel frontrunner, Mitt Romney, and an enthusiastically backed anti-Israel runner-up, Rep. Ron Paul, could lead to a situation in which candidate and perhaps President Romney may not be as pro-Israel as his lip service suggests: “[W]e don’t really know what Romney believes,” Goldberg writes, “and he may have no intention of telling us until he’s inaugurated.” Goldberg raises the specter of President George H.W. Bush’s anti-Israel chief-of-staff, John Sununu, who provided a crucial Romney endorsement in his home state of New Hampshire, having influence. I’ve heard similar fears situating Romney in the camp of James Baker, Bush the Elder’s chief adviser and confidante, who also had no love for Israel. (Critics like to call President Obama the least pro-Israel president since Eisenhower or perhaps Carter, but even if you want to cede that he hasn’t been as good as Bush 43 or Clinton, you can’t honestly suggest that he is less pro-Israel than Bush 41.)

I’m not buying. Romney has flip-flopped on a lot, but not on Israel. He is backed by the Republican establishment, which is strongly and hawkishly pro-Israel. And his foreign policy advisers read like a who’s-who of neoconservative (and frequently Jewish, for that matter) thinkers: Dan Senor, Robert Kagan, Eliot Cohen, Dov Zakheim. Give Romney credit: He is one of the few Republican candidates who hasn’t, say, vowed to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, as previous presidents have done while campaigning and as no previous presidents have actually followed through on. That to me is evidence that Romney will do exactly as he says he will do when it comes to the Middle East.

But Paul. He’s not going to be the nominee, much less president. But I fear that Republicans have done an inadequate job of fully rebutting what might be termed Paul-ism. This is in part because they remain divided over who should be the nominee despite Romney’s plodding inevitability: Witness the Adelson-Gingrich phenomenon; witness the Emergency Committee for Israel’s ad, set for South Carolina, targeting Ron Paul for not being a Reagan Republican, which the group had to yank off the air after the star of the ad, ECI co-founder Gary Bauer, endorsed Rick Santorum. But it’s also because there is a genuine constituency for Paul and Paul-ism in the Republican Party, the “progressives for Paul” meme notwithstanding: There are some progressives who support Paul (Katha Pollitt has a superb column explaining why they shouldn’t), but the largest coherent voting bloc that would be amenable to a Paul-like candidate is the Tea Party. And we know this because the Tea Party’s favorite politician is … Sen. Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky and son of (and crucial supporter of) Ron Paul.

Buzzfeed’s Rosie Gray has a must-read on “The Next Paul.” He is a much more skilled politician than his father—or, rather, he is much more of a politician than his father, somebody who cares about winning and accumulating power rather than just discussing issues and giving voice to a movement. He absolutely will consider being president at some point. In fact, according to Gray, Ron Paul will likely not be given much of a voice at the convention or on the standard-bearer’s ticket or, if it comes to it, in the Republican president’s administration precisely in exchange for future party backing for, or at least tolerance of, his son.

Rand Paul isn’t Ron Paul. He is less likely to emphasize or even agree with his father’s more outside-the-mainstream views. He doesn’t have a history of publishing racist newsletters or associating with icky paleoconservative-types. He is sort of like the Marine Le Pen to Ron Paul’s Jean-Marie.

Rand Paul also advocates a generally isolationist foreign policy and ending aid to Israel—like his father, and like a significant bloc of Republican voters. So, the Republican establishment’s refusal to fully deal with Paul, and instead to blame Paul on “progressives,” isn’t just some trivial matter, because the opponent isn’t just Paul, it’s Paul-ism.

ECI Pulls Gary Bauer Ad for South Carolina [JTA]
Ron Paul’s Strange Bedfellows [The Nation]
The Next Paul [Buzzfeed]
Earlier: ECI Goes After First Republican Target, Ron Paul
Tea Party Senator Endorses End of Israeli Aid

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Bill Pearlman says:

Romney is a mormon. And on Israel mormons are has much zionists has anybody in the knesset, more so really. Paul is another matter. I see anti-semitsm here that I don’t even see off Obama

“he is one of the few Republican candidates who hasn’t, say, vowed to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem… . That to me is evidence…”

How is that evidence? His advisors are probably encouraging him not to say it. Evidence is when someone dedicates their life to consistent principles and stands by them. That’s not Mitt Romney, and there is zero evidence he ever will be that way.

Ron Paul isn’t “anti” Israel! He’s just anti-spending- money-we-don’t-have! Why is it the responsibility of the US to protect Israel??? Israel has its own military (and a very strong one from what I understand). We can’t afford to spend money overseas anymore. We’re broke and need to take care of things here at home first! Time for all countries that take US aid to get off the teat – there’s no milk left!! Sorry if you don’t like that, but its reality.

Ron Paul is a man of peace and principles. Dear Tablet and Marc Tracy, I ask you kindly to stop spreading false information about an Honorable man. Thank you.

garvan says:

To watch the Zionist get scared at Paul makes me smile a bit.

Mebbe one day the Israelis will actually be free of the influence of the American Zionists, and actually be able to defend themselves.

But until then, the American Zionists will use Israeli children to keep Israel and Palestine from ever reaching any sort of peace.

Here’s the real picture: Zionist warmongering has not made Israel any more safe, rather it’s made the Muslims want to destroy it. Peace will never happen as long as we let this fearful cowards keep pressing the trigger button and commit murder.

Only Ron Paul would free Israel of the oppressive rule of the American Zionist, and let Israel use every one of their nukes in their own defense, and that’s just the sort of freedom Israel needs.

What give you the impression that Dov Zakheim is a neo-con supporter of Israel? Quite the opposite.

I totally agree with Ron Paul, It is not that he is anti Israel. It is that why should we spend American dollars to defend Israel from its battles. Israel is a capable and sustained country and we do not need to be involved at all. Maybe the world does not revolve around Israel, ever think that?

Paulbots seem to be everywhere these days-by the comments these ones have left it’s safe to say most are from the neo-Nazi website Stromfront. The fact those folks LOVE Ron Paul should be a red flag for any patriotic American NOT to vote for Ron Paul.

Israel_soverereignty says:

Your comment about Romney being pro-Israel, thereby reducing Dr. Paul’s standpoint as anti-Israel, is ridiculous, and irresponsible journalism. Dr. Paul has stood for Israel’s sovereignty, even to the point of disagreeing with the Reagan administration in 1981, when Israel bombed an Iraqi nuclear reactor. In fact, he is the only current candidate that stands for sovereignty of the Jewish state. The other candidates talk a good talk, but in reality wish to keep Israel under the thumb of the U.S., by offering them foreign aid, which is nothing more than international welfare.

Donaldo says:

This third captain went up and fell on his knees before Elijah. “Man of God,” he begged, “please have respect for my life and the lives of these fifty men, your servants! 14 See, fire has fallen from heaven and consumed the first two captains and all their men. But now have respect for my life!” – Ron Paul is the Third Captain.

Joseph Singer says:

You can’t count on anything Romney says since he’ll say what’s expedient for the situation at the moment you ask him. Don’t expect a position to be the same one you asked about at a previous time.

This article is a perfect example of why thoughtful people have issues with American zionism. Whether a candidate is willing to give large sums of money to a foreign country should not be the deciding factor in whether they are fit to be president of the United States.

“..and an enthusiastically backed anti-Israel runner-up, Rep. Ron Paul..”

I’m pretty sure Ron Paul was one of the few congressman who supported Israel’s right to bomb Iraq in 1981. So. How is that Anti-Israel? Because he would cut off foreign aid? Did you not see Netanyahu’s speech. I quote..

“My friends, you don’t have to — you don’t need to do nation- building in Israel. We’re already built.
You don’t need to export democracy to Israel. We’ve already got it.
And you don’t need to send American troops to Israel. We defend ourselves.”

Ron Paul is only SUPPORTING Israel by wanting to cut off the insane amount of foreign aid we’re sending to Israel’s enemies.

Thus by your misleading intro, I didn’t even bother reading the rest of your article.

Beatrix says:

Ron Paul isn’t particularly antisemitic, but he attracts antisemites because of his wish not to send money to our allies, including Israel. Actually, at 76, if he’s not in diapers yet, he’s doing pretty well. Dementia, we won’t discuss.

Rand, the Bland, may not outlast the Tea Party, which will endure about as long as OWS. I have never seen anyone as clueless as he. Which doesn’t mean he won’t be successful.

The problem with Paul is that he thinks it’s the 18th century and that America can step out of the fulcrum of the world. He thinks we don’t need allies and we don’t need to support our allies, that we can just step back and the world will go on without us. His nonsense appeals to the young, just as Obama’s did.

Romney is far from perfect, but he is a grown up and that scares the hell out of Paul’s and Obama’s followers.

womanforpaul says:

Ron Paul, a patriot, who has honorably served his country, defends both the constitution and civil liberties, and is for peace and prosperity. Dr. Paul has the wisdom, foresight, honesty and integrity to be president.

Dr. Paul believes spending and deficits are destroying this country. Dr. Paul’s budget plan would save $1 trillion in the first year. Besides the spending cuts, there are other issues of importance to voters. For conservatives, Dr. Paul scores an A+ on all of them: Second Amendment protection, pro-life record, right-to-work, pro-business, anti-tax, states’ rights, you name it.

Dr. Paul also believes America should have the strongest national defense on earth — which he believes begins with not trying to constantly police the earth. Right now, our government puts our best and bravest in harm’s way on a regular basis for questionable reasons and with no discernible notion of victory. This is not supporting the troops. It’s abusing them. Dr. Paul wants an end to this absurd, costly policy.

The voters have declared Dr. Paul the alternative to the liberal, flip flopping Mitt Romney. The other candidates are simply irrelevant. In the New Hampshire Primary, Dr. Paul received more votes than all the supposed Anti-Romney (Santorum, Gingrich, and Perry) candidates combined.

The question for Republican voters is not whether they can afford to vote for Dr. Paul – it’s whether they can afford not to.

America Needs Ron Paul.

Beatrix says:

Paul is doing very well for an also ran. So did Nader, Perot, Anderson, etc. They get such fervent followers, then later no one wants to admit they ever supported them.

America, the island, surrounded by our trillions of dollars in armaments. How long do you think a country lasts in our complex world without allies? How long do you think we’ll retain allies when we declare America, first, last and only?

It’s normal for old people to want to withdraw from the world at least to some extent. When they start doing it to their country, people should be alarmed. It’s ironic that Paul’s philosophy, normal for an elderly person, is so appealing to the young. They haven’t been old, yet and so they have no idea that Paul’s ideas come from being elderly. It takes another old person to warn people.

bullvant says:

if paul is not anti-israel, why in a 408 to 1 vote, did he vote no to a resolution against hamas sending misilles on Sderot,Israel. Even the anti-israel members didn’t vote. I believe the long time aide to paul who says paul told him that Israel is too much trouble for the USA. Paul in all yrs in congress has 1 bill to his name, a real idea man. A real consensus worker. A real KOOK.

Ron Paul is the best presidential president we have had in decades. Everybody else is bought and paid for….much like Marc Tracy.

“generally isolationist”????? That is called non-interventionism. There is a big difference. you cannot be sort of an Isolationist. Isolationism is no contact with anybody… That isn’t even Ron Paul’s stance. If you are going to use big vocabulary words in your article at least use the right ones. Non-Interventionism= Paul family beliefs. Isolationism= MSM caricature of an otherwise intellegent alternative to what America is currently doing.

Beatrix, your supposition that Ron Paul’s position on Israel comes from his age is factually inaccurate. Paul has been involved with politics since 1976, and the large majority of his views, including his foreign policy, have changed little, if at all. On your alliance concern, I wonder if you realize that free association via trade between nations fosters greater partnerships than military occupation and/or handouts of foreign aid. And Paul has put forth clear and detailed plans for his goals. Please tell me how idealism backed by realistic modes of implementation makes one be not a “grown-up”. I would sincerely like to know and would appreciate it if you don’t claim that I am indoctrinated by “nonsense” or something like that. I will change my mind if you convince me that Paul would be worse for America than a different candidate.

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Ron Paul and Paul-ism

He may not be the nominee. But there is another.

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