Thursday, September 17, 2015

Rand Paul stresses libertarian themes in debate

Rand Paul returns to libertarian roots - Tom Loftus, Louisville Courier-Journal:

September 17, 2015 - "Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul emphasized the conservative libertarian themes that distinguish him from his rivals in Wednesday night's debate among leading Republicans seeking their party's 2016 presidential nomination.... Paul urged caution on military intervention in the Middle East, said the federal government should not override state laws on marijuana in states such as Colorado, and urged criminal justice reforms that emphasize rehabilitation over incarceration.

"'If you want boots on the ground, and you want them to be our sons and daughters, you’ve got 14 other choices,' Paul said referring to the rest of the GOP field. He said the prolonged American military engagement in Iraq has proven to be a mistake. 'And I’m not sending our sending our sons and our daughters back to Iraq.'

"Paul was among 11 candidates who took part in the prime time broadcast by CNN from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.... The themes emphasized by Paul are ones that mostly set him apart from the pack and ones he has not stressed in recent weeks as his standing in the polls has dropped.

"Wednesday night he made clear his opposition to military intervention without clear authority and a clear goal. 'I'm someone who believes in peace through strength,' he said in his closing statement. '...War is the last resort, not the first resort. And when we go to war, we go to war in a Constitutional way, which means that we have to vote on it, that war is initiated by Congress, not by the president. That we go to war reluctantly, but when we go to war we do not fight with one arm tied behind our back. We fight all-out to win.'

"Paul tangled with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on whether stronger federal laws on marijuana ought to be enforced over more liberal state laws in places like Colorado.

"'People going to jail for this are poor people, often African-Americans and often Hispanic ...' Paul said. 'I personally think that this is a crime for which the only victim is the individual, and I think that America has to take a different attitude.' Paul said, 'I think the federal government has gone too far, I think the war on drugs has had a racial outcome and really has been something that’s really damaged our inner cities ... So I don’t think the federal government should override the states'....

"As expected, the debate saw a clash between Paul and frontrunner Donald Trump. What wasn’t anticipated was that Trump would throw the first punch.

"'Rand Paul shouldn’t even be on this stage,' Trump said at the start of the debate, noting Paul's low standing in the polls. 'He’s number 11.'

"Actually Paul's latest ranking in Real Clear Politics' average of recent polls puts him in a tie for seventh place.

"Paul replied by questioning Trump's temperament - citing 'sophomoric' quips Trump has made about the physical appearance of his opponents. 'Would we not all be worried to have someone like that in charge of our nuclear arsenal?'

"Trump got in the last word in this exchange, however, saying he had never criticized Paul's looks, but 'believe me, there’s plenty of subject matter.'"

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Rand Paul Constitution Day moneybomb, September 17.

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