JERUSALEM – You say it’s too early to choose a candidate for president in 2016?
Let me tell you something: It’s never too early, unless you want to be left with a Republican selection like those since Ronald Reagan left office in 1988 – establishment GOP picks who, for the most part, are either losers or winners who continue business as usual in Washington.
Why am I excited about Sen. Rand Paul in 2016?
Because he genuinely understands the absolute need to reduce spending, return to the constitutional limits on the federal government and stop borrowing – not 10 years from now, but now.
Secondly, Paul has shown an ability to beat the Republican establishment by bringing together a coalition of libertarians, evangelicals and tea-party activists on common principles.
Thirdly, I believe he will start with a strong base of support built by his father, Ron Paul – a base representing close to 20 percent of the Republican and independent vote. That is a formidable base – better than any other potential GOP candidate starts with in a bid to reclaim the White House in four years.
But what about foreign policy?
Wasn’t this where Ron Paul alienated so many Republican voters?
What about issues like same-sex marriage?
Is Rand Paul, who shares a name with Ayn Rand, too libertarian?
Having spent a week with Sen. Paul in Israel, my concerns about those questions have been assuaged.
Let’s take the issue of Israel, for instance. Rand Paul’s position is exactly like mine. The U.S. needs to stand with our ally, but we need to stop trying to control the Jewish state and push it into an untenable position in which it cannot defend itself.
Ultimately, that means a cutoff of foreign aid. I’m against foreign aid for all countries. The Constitution is against foreign aid for all countries. And there are pragmatic reasons for weaning Israel from foreign aid so that it becomes less dependent on the whims of Washington.
Paul has a nuanced position on foreign aid in which he calls for cutting or eliminating it for countries that are brutal, anti-American regimes for which we have no national interest to support. In time, Israel will be cut, too – when it is prepared to stand on its own two feet confidently and with its unique blessing from God.
I have spoken to dozens of Jewish congregations and groups over the years as one of the more well-known Arab-American supporters of Israel. I have presented this same position to them forthrightly and honestly, explaining that foreign aid is counterproductive for Israel as it is for any other recipient nation.
The surprising reaction has been universal – standing ovations.
In other words, Rand Paul has the right positions and knows how to articulate them effectively. He understands the unique threats Israel faces from increasing hostile and well-armed nations and terrorists who surround the tiny bastion of liberty in the Middle East.
He brings this same common-sense approach to domestic fiscal policy and social policy.
There’s one more reason to rally around Rand Paul as the Republican champion in 2016: Does anyone else start with such a strong base and the kind of deep-seated convictions that we need to take America back?
If there is one, I can’t think of who it might be.
One thing is certain: We can’t make the mistakes we made in 2012 and 2008 and 2000 and 1996 and 1988.
We can’t let the establishment pick the Republican presidential candidate.
Rand Paul may not be the only one who can do that. But I can’t think of any other candidate who has so much of the right stuff going for him.