Ron Paul’s dovish position on support for Israel has earned him much scorn from mainstream conservatives. Yet now, in a turn that will bewilder many of those people, Paul has announced support for a position that previously only Newt Gingrich had held on the Israeli state. That is, Paul believes the United States ought to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. And does it for completely consistent reasons, too. Here’s Paul:
“The real issue here is not what America wants, but what does Israel want,” Paul told evangelical leaders, according to a transcript of the meeting obtained by Business Insider. “If Israel wants their capital to be Jerusalem, then the United States should honor that.”
“How would we like it if some other nation said ‘We decided to recognize New York City as your capital instead, so we will build our embassy there?’” he added.
Even Paul’s senior campaign aides were surprised by his response.
“We were floored,” senior advisor Doug Wead told Business Insider. “It sounds like pure Ron Paul, but it still caught us off guard…If someone would have asked him that in a national debate, I suppose it would have popped right out, but nobody did!”
Paul’s position places him closer to the pro-Israel and further away from the pro-Palestinian camp than other observers had previously imagined. It certainly puts him at odds with President Obama’s own State department, which has previously refused to acknowledge that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.
The rumors of a conspiracy between Ron Paul and Mitt Romney were apparently premature. As the former Massachusetts Governor coasts towards the GOP nomination, Paul himself told CNS News that he “hasn’t decided” whether to support the nominee. This is a marginally more encouraging sign from Paul than has been seen in the past, but given his reasons for being undecided, Romney supporters shouldn’t get their hopes up:
“I want us to stand for something,” Paul told WMAL. “You now, for fifty, sixty years, we change parties, but we never change policy.”[...]
“Which Republican other than myself would look into the Federal Reserve?” Paul asked.[...]
“I don’t see how that would happen. There’s too many disagreements,” Paul said. “I like Mitt Romney as a person. I think he is a dignified person and I–you know, I have no common ground on economics. I mean, he doesn’t–he isn’t worried about the Federal Reserve. And he isn’t worried about the foreign policy. He doesn’t talk about civil liberties, so I have a hard time to expect him ever to invite me to campaign with him.”
Except for the Federal Reserve point, the irony is that all of these reasons arguably place Paul closer to Barack Obama in terms of philosophical predispositions than Romney – a point that was not brought up in the interviews where Paul has spoken on the topic. You can watch the clips here:
Fox News has called the Illinois Primary for Mitt Romney. So has USA Today:
With 28% of 10,448 precincts reporting, Romney had a commanding lead with 56% of the vote to 28% for his main challenger, Rick Santorum. Ron Paul had 9%, while New Gingrich was lagging with 7%.
After capturing primaries in industrial states Michigan and Ohio, Tuesday’s victory solidified Romney’s front-runner status to face off against President Obama in this fall’s general election.
The economy appeared to be a top issue for Illinois voters, just as it has been in other primary states.