The following quotes were taken from the above-embedded speech by Senator Rand Paul in which he declared his candidacy for President of the United States. After each one, I have posted a response in the hopes that every Paulbot in America will take a few moments out of his or her busy day to write me some hate-mail.
RP: “We’ve come to take our country back from the special interests that use Washington as their personal piggy bank.”
What political interests aren’t “special”? Which ones should we get rid of, and how? If I’m not mistaken, people have a constitutional right to petition their government for a redress of grievances. Should we now amend the ‘Bill of Rights’ with respect to this issue?
RP: “If we nominate a candidate who is simply Democrat-light, what’s the point?”
There’s no more point in doing that than there is in nominating a Libertarian who calls himself a Republican in order to get GOP backing for an election.
RP: “Washington is horribly broken. I fear it can’t be fixed from within.”
If that’s true, then why are you running for president? After all, if change can only be made from without, why attempt to become the biggest insider there is?
RP: “Congress has an abysmal record with balancing anything. Our only recourse is to force Congress to balance the budget with a constitutional amendment.”
How are you going to convince Congressmen to do something that they could have done at any time in the past, but have consistently refused to do? Are you calling for a ‘Convention of the States’ for such a purpose? And if you could get Congress and/or the states to adopt a balanced budget amendment, would there be exceptions to it, such as during times of war?
RP: “We limit the president to two terms. It’s about time we limit the terms of Congress.”
How do you propose we convince members of Congress to pass a law that makes them leave office and actually work for a living? Again, are you suggesting we implement a ‘Convention of the States’? If so, I’d support that. If not, then this proposition is as shallow as a mud puddle.
RP: “I want to reform Washington. I want common-sense rules that will break the logjam in Congress. That’s why I’ve introduced a ‘Read The Bills’ act.”
Is there currently something preventing Congressmen from reading the bills they vote on? Even if you could force them to read their bills, where is the guarantee that they’d understand them, or that doing so would cause them to vote differently than they otherwise would?
RP: “Work is not punishment, work is the reward.”
No, work is just another word for effort, and effort is not a reward, it is the means by which one reaps a reward. For instance, the satisfaction derived from accomplishing a goal is a reward for effort, as is the money exchanged for it in a free market. Rewards are the results of work, not the work itself.
RP: “My plan involves economic freedom zones to allow impoverished areas like Detroit, west Louisville, eastern Kentucky to prosper by leaving more money in the pockets of the people who live there.”
How? Are you proposing that we create special tax rates for people in failing cities by modifying our already monstrously complex tax code? If not, then what do you suggest? And who gets to determine which areas of the country are worthy of such distinct consideration, and which aren’t?
RP: “Conservatives understand that government is the problem, not the solution. Conservatives should not succumb, though, to the notion that a government inept at home will somehow succeed in building nations abroad.”
What if we have no choice but to go to war with a country filled with radical Islamists? Do we just leave it in ruins afterward, creating a power vacuum for any lunatic to fill? Contrary to popular belief, America has never lost a war. However, in modern times it has often lost the ensuant peace. (e.g. Vietnam, Iraq)
RP: “We brought Iran to the table through sanctions that I voted for. Now we must stay strong. That’s why I’ve co-sponsored legislation that ensures that any deal between the U.S. and Iran must be approved by Congress. Not only is that good policy, it’s the law.”
If it’s already the law, why are you co-sponsoring a bill of identical effect? Wouldn’t your time in Congress be better spent supporting legislation that isn’t redundant?
RP: “Let’s quit building bridges in foreign countries and use that money to build some bridges here at home.”
That may be an effective bumper-sticker line for a presidential campaign, but if my memory hasn’t completely failed me, back in 2009, Congress passed an $831B “stimulus” bill called the ‘American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’ for just such domestic purposes. And yet, our infrastructure is in worse shape now than it’s ever been. So tell me, how is not spending a few million dollars in Iraq or Afghanistan going to help us build bridges in America, when the billions we’ve supposedly allocated for that purpose aren’t actually being used to build bridges?
RP: “It angers me to see mobs burning our flag and chanting ‘death to America’ in countries that receive millions of dollars in our foreign aid. I say, it must end. I say not one penny more to these haters of America.”
What if the penny you mentioned is one of many being used to stop Muslim extremists from overrunning U.S.-friendly governments – like the one headed by the Shah of Iran in the 1970s? Should we provide “aid” money to a bad government that’s at least willing to play ball with us on the international stage, or would you rather let it be replaced by a worse one that will cost us far more in treasure and blood down the road?
RP: “I say that your phone records are yours.”
Not if the records in question belong to your service provider. Which records are you referring to, exactly?
RP: “The president created this vast dragnet by executive order, and as president, on day one, I will immediately end this unconstitutional surveillance.”
To which executive order do you refer? For that matter, which president? And how are you going to end said surveillance… by executive order? Tell me, is the NSA’s collection of metadata identical to the general warrants of search and seizure rejected by our founding fathers? I don’t believe so.
As Charles Krauthammer wrote in 2013: Thirty-five years ago in United States v. Choate, the courts ruled that the Postal Service may record “mail cover,” i.e., what’s written on the outside of an envelope – the addresses of sender and receiver. The National Security Agency’s recording of U.S. phone data does basically that with the telephone. It records who is calling whom – the outside of the envelope, as it were. The content of the conversation, however, is like the letter inside the envelope. It may not be opened without a court order. The constitutional basis for this is simple: The Fourth Amendment protects against “unreasonable searches and seizures,” and there is no reasonable expectation of privacy for what’s written on an envelope. It’s dropped in a public mailbox, read by workers at the collection center and read once again by the letter carrier. It’s already openly been shared, much as your phone records are shared with, recorded by, and (e-)mailed back to you by a third party, namely the phone company. Indeed, in 1979 the Supreme Court (Smith v. Maryland) made the point directly regarding the telephone: The expectation of privacy applies to the content of a call, not its record. There is therefore nothing constitutionally offensive about the newly revealed NSA data-mining program that seeks to identify terrorist networks through telephone-log pattern recognition.
RP: “I see an America where criminal justice is applied equally, and any law that disproportionately incarcerates people of color is repealed.”
The enforcement of most violent-crime laws leads to a disproportionate incarceration rate among “people of color”. Should we suddenly decriminalize armed robbery and murder because a higher percentage – per capita – of non-whites are convicted of those crimes than whites?
Dear Rand Paul supporters,
I get why you like the good doctor. He seems like a man of integrity who keeps to his word and champions the cause of liberty in a way that few of his contemporaries do.
Good for him.
The downside to many of his policy viewpoints, however, is that he really hasn’t thought them through. They won’t work – despite his noble intentions – because ideology must be tempered with pragmatism, or else it is counterproductive.
Edward L. Daley