Thursday, 22 December 2011

Ann Coulter Favors Ron Paul Over Gingrich

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Ann Coulter, on a recent episode of the nighttime Fox News program Red Eye, said she would prefer Ron Paul as President to former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, whom she has called a “big-government” conservative.

“And what you say about Ron Paul is — I think, just to clarify — he’s fantastic on domestic policy,” she said. “You just want to kind of keep him away from foreign policy, and in terms of foreign policy, doing nothing like Ron Paul wants to do is better than doing bad stuff like our current President is doing.”

Coulter, one of many on the Republican right who earlier this year were calling for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to enter the race, has since joined Christie in endorsing former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. She previously had told Sean Hannity of Fox News that she considered Paul “the least conservative” of the Republican candidates because of his foreign policy. Paul, who has frequently been labeled “isolationist,” has insisted his policy of non-interventionism is in the long-standing tradition of the Republican Party, citing Robert Taft of Ohio, the “Mr. Republican” of the 1940s as an exponent of that same policy. He has also said any number of times that he is trying to accomplish what George W. Bush said he wanted to do when he ran for President in 2000 — create a “more humble” role for American in the world and put an end to efforts at “nation-building.” Bush changed his goals. Paul hasn't changed his.

Paul insists America should stop trying to be the world's policeman and he believes we should end all foreign aid, including aid to Israel. He points out that even Israeli leaders such as Benjamin Netanyahu have agreed with him that Israel does not need U.S. foreign aid, and is well able to — and should — stand on its own. Critics of his position have come close to suggesting that not to continue to support Israel is unbiblical or anti-Semitic.

But what Paul has consistently said is that he wishes to return American government to its historic constitutional role. And what was that role? America, since its inception as several largely self-governing coastal colonies in British North America, has had governments tha were profoundly sympathetic to Jews. In colonial America, Jews served in legislative assemblies and graduated from Christian universities. In 1742, a Swedish traveler in New York noted, “The Jews enjoy all the privileges in common with other inhabitants of this town and province.” Dorothy Zeligs, in her 1941 book, A History of Jewish Life in Modern Times, noted, “In 1788 they [the Jews of Philadelphia] appealed for aid to non-Jews and received it, a rather remarkable occurrence for those days.”  

Governor McCall in 1939 wrote of Jews in colonial America: “They appear nowhere to have been ill-treated.... They found America during the colonial period a paradise compared to what Europe had been. Additionally, he observed, “A thorough research does not disclose one singe case of anything bordering on persecution of the Jew by the Puritan.” The colonial constitutions of North and South Carolina explicitly granted religious toleration to Jews.

George Washington warned his countrymen in his Farewell Address to avoid “entangling alliances,” but when the Jews of Newport asked him if they were welcome in the new nation, his famous letter to them is as sympathetic as any document by any political leader to the Jewish people in history:

It is now no more than toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people, than any other enjoyed the exercise of their inherent rights. For happily the government of the United States, which gives bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, giving it on all occasions their effectual support.  

The avoidance of entangling alliances did not mean that the American government was indifferent to the suffering of Jews in the Old World. In fact, one of the most consistent themes of American foreign policy has been to deplore brutality to Jews and to offer reasonable assistance to them. This did not mean sending armies or fleets, but it often proved helpful — precisely because America was not a partisan to the conflicts in Europe, Africa, and Asia.

Secretary of State James Blaine in 1881 formally protested the treatment of Jews in Tsarist Russia. Theodore Roosevelt raised the subject in 1902 of Tsarist mistreatment of Jews and in 1903, sent a stiff and angry statement to the Tsar after the Kishineff massacre of Jews, saying:  “In any proper way by which beneficial action may be taken, it will be taken, to show the sincerity of the historic American position of treating each man on his merits without the least reference to his creed, his race or his birthplace.”

William Howard Taft in 1911 abrogated America’s Treaty of 1832 with Russia because of the Russian government’s mistreatment of Jews. Small wonder then, that in 1919, Rabbi Levinger wrote: “Again, as so many times before, America proved a champion of Jewish rights and of humanity before the nations of the world.”

The good offices of the American government as a mediator and conciliator, the practical assistance provided by open-hearted Americans of every faith, the free and loud voice of American newspapers and other media in condemning pogroms and other vile acts, and the solid history of friendship by Americans for the Jewish people — these are an honorable, serious and eminently valuable part of the most philo-Semitic nation in modern history.

This is the sort of heritage that Ron Paul wishes to restore.

Correction: This article as originally published incorrectly stated that Ann Coulter approved of Ron Paul's foreign policy of noninterventionism.

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