On Thursday night, 10 Republican Presidential wanna-bees met in front of a record television audience to “debate” the issues and let the American electorate know what they believe.
While some candidates were explaining away immigration and abortion positions they held in the past, explaining away the horrible economies in the states they govern, (also here) or telling stories of tying yellow ribbons or talking of the occupation of their fathers, one candidate was the lone voice for liberty on the Cleveland stage, and that was Kentucky Senator Rand Paul.
Despite getting the least amount of speaking time, a whopping 4 minutes and 51 seconds (see list below), with some of that due to his own interjections, Sen Paul defended liberty and freedom rather well, clearly standing apart from his opponents.
Buying off politicians
It took little time for Dr Paul to jump in and point out to the world one of the biggest problems in Washington, big money buying off politicians for votes, favors or whatever else they desire.
At the beginning of the debate, billionaire Donald Trump, who has been vocal about the fact that he has donated money to get what he wants ( a real problem), was answering a question about pledging not to run 3rd party, Sen Paul jumped in–“This is what’s wrong! I mean, this is what’s wrong. He buys and sells politicians of all stripes, he’s already…
“Hey, look, look! He’s already hedging his bet on the Clintons, OK? So if he doesn’t run as a Republican, maybe he supports Clinton, or maybe he runs as an independent. But I’d say that he’s already hedging his bets because he’s used to buying politicians.”
Trump replied, “Well, I’ve given him plenty of money”. Paul later explained on the O’Reilly Factor Friday evening that Trump had donated money for the University of Utah, where Paul, a Duke trained physician and ophthalmologist does mission work.
Paul also elaborated about Trump: “Donald Trump is trying to run as an outsider, but he is a consummate insider who buys politicians. He’s given $300,000 to Democrats and $300,000 to Republicans, and he says it’s so they’ll do whatever he tells them to do.
“That doesn’t sound like what we need to change Washington, and I’m horrified by the idea that we could consider someone who would buy and sell politicians.”
Defending the First Amendment
When moderator Megyn Kelly asked Dr Paul a question from someone on Facebook about ensuring Christians are not prosecuted for speaking out against gay marriage and about Christians being forced to conduct business that conflicts with their religious beliefs, Sen Paul replied:
“Look, I don’t want my marriage or my guns registered in Washington. And if people have an opinion, it’s a religious opinion that is heartly felt, obviously they should be allowed to practice that and no government should interfere with them. One of the things, one of the things that really got to me was the thing in Houston where you had the government, the mayor actually, trying to get the sermons of ministers. When the government tries to invade the church to enforce its own opinion on marriage, that’s when it’s time to resist.”
Defending the Fourth Amendment
We all saw or heard about the exchange between Sen Paul and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, but lets take another look at that exchange:
Megyn Kelly asks Christie:
“Governor Christie. You’ve said that Senator Paul’s opposition to the NSA’s collection of phone records has made the United States weaker and more vulnerable, even going so far as to say that he should be called before Congress to answer for it if we should be hit by another terrorist attack.
“Do you really believe you can assign blame to Senator Paul just for opposing he bulk collection of people’s phone records in the event of a terrorist attack?”
Christie’s response in a very Guiliani-esque manner:
“Yes, I do. And I’ll tell you why: because I’m the only person on this stage who’s actually filed applications under the Patriot Act, who has gone before the federal — the Foreign Intelligence Service court, who has prosecuted and investigated and jailed terrorists in this country after September 11th.
“I was appointed U.S. attorney by President Bush on September 10th, 2001 (A Christie lie, he was appointed Dec. 7, 2001), and the world changed enormously the next day, and that happened in my state.
“This is not theoretical to me. I went to the funerals. We lost friends of ours in the Trade Center that day. My own wife was two blocks from the Trade Center that day, at her office, having gone through it that morning.
“When you actually have to be responsible for doing this, you can do it, and we did it, for seven years in my office, respecting civil liberties and protecting the homeland.
“And I will make no apologies, ever, for protecting the lives and the safety of the American people. We have to give more tools to our folks to be able to do that, not fewer, and then trust those people and oversee them to do it the right way. As president, that is exactly what I’ll do.”
“I want to collect more records from terrorists, but less records from innocent Americans. The Fourth Amendment was what we fought the Revolution over! John Adams said it was the spark that led to our war for independence, and I’m proud of standing for the Bill of Rights, and I will continue to stand for the Bill of Rights.”
Christie, a Seton Hall University School of Law graduate, responded: “And — and, Megyn? Megyn, that’s a — that, you know, that’s a completely ridiculous answer. “I want to collect more records from terrorists, but less records from other people.” How are you supposed to know, Megyn?”
“Use the Fourth Amendment!“, Paul exclaimed multiple times. “Get a judge to sign the warrant!”
“Here’s the problem, governor. Here’s the problem, governor. You fundamentally misunderstand the Bill of Rights.”
Paul later elaborated on the O’Reilly Factor, “I actually want more surveillance of suspected terrorists, but I want to obey the Fourth Amendment which says you have to name the terrorists and have suspicion. I’m just not for the sweeping surveillance state.”
Sen Paul responded to Bret Baier’s question about the Senator blaming his own party for ISIS:
“First of all, only ISIS is responsible for the terrorism. Only ISIS is responsible for the depravity. But, we do have to examine, how are we going to defeat ISIS? I’ve got a proposal. I’m the leading voice in America for not arming the allies of ISIS.
“I’ve been fighting amidst a lot of opposition from both Hillary Clinton, as well as some Republicans who wanted to send arms to the allies of ISIS. ISIS rides around in a billion dollars worth of U.S. Humvees. It’s a disgrace. We’ve got to stop — we shouldn’t fund our enemies, for goodness sake. So, we didn’t create ISIS — ISIS created themselves, but we will stop them, and one of the ways we stop them is by not funding them, and not arming them.”
Later Baier asked Paul about his budget and foreign aid and Paul said, “Well, let’s be clear, I’m the only one on the stage who actually has a five-year budget that balances. I’ve put pencil to paper.
“And I’ve said I would cut spending, and I’ve said exactly where. Each one of my budgets has taken a meat axe to foreign aid, because I think we ought to quit sending it to countries that hate us.
“I think we ought to quit sending it to countries that burn our flag. Israel is not one of those. But even Benjamin Netanyahu said that ultimately, they will be stronger when they’re independent. My position is exactly the same.
“We shouldn’t borrow money from China to send it anywhere, but why don’t we start with eliminating aid to our enemies.”
Baier interjects: “OK. But you still say that Israel could be one of the countries that is cut from financial aid?”
Dr Paul’s response is: “I still say exactly what my original opinion is. Do you borrow money from China to send it to anyone? Out of your surplus, you can help your allies, and Israel is a great ally. And this is no particular animus of Israel, but what I will say, and I will say over and over again, we cannot give away money we don’t have.”
“We do not project power from bankruptcy court. We’re borrowing a million dollars a minute.”
His answers/responses weren’t perfect, they could have been better, but look at the alternatives.
Not bad for a candidate who only got 4 minutes and 51 seconds.