Warning: this is a really resource-heavy post
To start, here’s a video with all of Rand’s comments:
To start off, I will point something out. Paul’s comments total around 12 minutes in total. To clarify, the stat that has been going around, the 4-5 minutes stat, is a total of the time he had in discussion after questions from the Moderators. Some stats have said that Paul had over 900 words total, though I can’t find anything to back that.
Rand Paul did okay for this first debate. I thought that his clashes with Trump in the beginning were good, and his big debate with Christie was great, despite how bad the media is trying to slant it. Rand, like everyone else, could stand to improve, but overall, I think he did well. He didn’t let Trump run him over, and he made sure that he stood out the best he could.
Opening Clash w/ Trump:
So, to be clear, yes, Rand did say that Donald buy’s politicians. And you know what, he isn’t wrong. Here’s OpenSecrets with the data. Some of his more notable donations have gone to some rather interesting people he has been “criticizing”:
- Harry Reid (D)
- Mitch McConnnel ®
- Chuck Schumer (D)
- Dick Durbin (D)
- Hillary Clinton (running for President – D)
- John Kerry (D)
- Charlie Crist (When running for Senate – R/I/D/???? We don’t know)
- John McCain ®
- Peter King ®
- Mitt Romney ®
- Rudy Guiliani ®
- Joe Biden (D)
- Anthony Weiner (D)
- Charlie Rangel (D)
- Mike Huckabee ®
And on many occasions, it looks as if there were times where he got money FROM THE CLINTON CAMPAIGN IN 2008 (look for the minus next to the amount). So Donald, tell me you want to fix this country. Tell me you’re sick and tired of how things are. Do it, but just know that YOU HELPED TO BRING IT TO IT’S CURRENT STATE.
Oh, and to finish, I went through the many pages of history, and I didn’t find a donation to Rand. Care to explain, Donald?
Here’s the first page of Open Secrets (left to right in order):
First Question From Moderators; Subject: ISIS Comments
Start at 1:50 in original video
When they say that he’s blamed his party for the rise of ISIS, is he wrong? Not exactly. We do know that ISIS has $1 Billion worth of US military equipment that we gave to the Iraqi’s. Paul has long been a critic of sending arms to untrustworthy groups, such as the Syrian Rebels, which is where a lot of ISIS fighters came from. In that article, he said the following:
“It’s a mistake to arm them,” Paul, a possible 2016 presidential candidate, said Monday on CBS This Morning. “Most of the arms we’ve given to the so-called moderate rebels have wound up in the hands of ISIS because ISIS simply takes it from them, or it’s given to them, or we mistakenly actually give it to some of the radicals. So the intervention in Syria has created a save haven for ISIS and has made our problem much more difficult.”
He voted against the Continuing Resolution, or the CROmnibus spending bill last year which authorized such spending as well. Here are exerts from that article:
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on Thursday voted in favor of a spending bill that includes an authorization to aid Syrian rebels, while Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) voted against it.
The plan to train and equip moderate Syrian rebels is the next stage in President Obama’s plan to defeat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Administration officials have predicted the war against ISIS will last into at least the next presidential administration, and therefore the senators’ votes could come under scrutiny if they run for president in 2016. Rubio, Cruz and Paul have all expressed interest in possible presidential bids.
On the plan to arm Syrian rebels, for instance, Paul said earlier this summer that ISIS has largely gained strength because the U.S. has armed the group’s allies in Syria.
Before the Thursday vote, Paul asked to separate the authorization to aid Syrian rebels from the CR, but Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) objected.
“The inescapable irony is that someday the arms we supply would be used against us, or Israel,” Paul said on the floor Thursday. “It is also ludicrous to believe that we know where all of the money, arms and ammunition will end up, or who will end up benefiting from these shipments.”
When he “blames his party”, he is most likely referring to the actions of hawkish Senators, such as Lindsay Graham, who is running as well for President, and John McCain, who was the 2008 Republican nominee. These two have long advocated getting involved in Syria, and more involved or re-engaged in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. Getting these two involved in something regarding foreign policy, in my point of view, will almost end in bombs if left unchecked, and I believe that Senator Paul is right to call them out.
Christie / Paul Exchange On PATRIOT Act & NSA Spying:
Christie claims he would want Senator Paul put before Congress, for “being responsible for a terrorist attack”, to paraphrase. He believes that the 4th Amendment, as well as the rest of the Constitution, is somehow void because of 9/11. He uses 9/11 almost as a trump card, to stop any debate, and instill fear into people.
Well, to start, no Chris, feels don’t trump facts, like how the NSA has been super ineffective in finding threats. The NSA’s phone-spying is useless. Quoting the Gizmodo article:
In the study, the New America Foundation reviewed 225 terrorism cases and found that traditional investigation and law enforcement methods actually did the most to prevent attacks. About a third of the leads in terrorism cases came from tips or an informant, while old school surveillance warrants were used in 48 cases. All things told, bulk telephony metadata collection provided evidence in only one case, a case that didn’t even present the threat of an attack against the United States. (emphasis added in by me)
But it’s not just that, there’s more! The Stellar Wind Program, authorized by Bush’s shortly after 9/11, which allows for the collection of phone and email metadata, was also shown to be useless. Quoting TechDirt:
A huge report (747 pages) on the NSA’s Stellar Wind program has been turned over to Charlie Savage of the New York Times after a successful FOIA lawsuit. Stellar Wind has its basis in an order issued by George W. Bush shortly after the 9/11 attacks. Not an executive order, per se, but Bush basically telling the NSA that it was OK to start collecting email and phone metadata, as well as warrantlessly tap international calls into and out of the United States.
The extensive detailing of the program’s history contains some rather surprising elements. While much of it remains redacted, there’s still enough exposed that indicates the program was like many others the NSA has pursued: expansive, intrusive, done without oversight… and ultimately mostly useless.
But what really troubles me is that Christie wants more tools to prevent terrorism. The problem is, that the one’s we already have, aren’t doing any good. As I showed above, they’re useless, well, let me take that back. If you want to spend, spend, spend your way into oblivion and irrelevance, then spending it on things that cost billions of dollars you’re not allowed to know even a specific dollar amount on, might just work. Or, perhaps it’s for other reason, such as being just part of the tentacles of big government that has been seen many times before.
Now, let me explain a Rand comment that drew criticism from Christie. Rand said “I want to collect more records from terrorists, but less records from innocent Americans.” Christie drew criticism on this, finding it to be somewhat rediculous. But, in reality, Paul has a point. Even NSA analysts have said that they collect too much data for them to even have any effect. Quoting First Look:
“We in the agency are at risk of a similar, collective paralysis in the face of a dizzying array of choices every single day,” the analyst wrote in 2011. “’Analysis paralysis’ isn’t only a cute rhyme. It’s the term for what happens when you spend so much time analyzing a situation that you ultimately stymie any outcome …. It’s what happens in SIGINT [signals intelligence] when we have access to endless possibilities, but we struggle to prioritize, narrow, and exploit the best ones.”
So yeah, we really could afford to cut down, and Christie would be wise to support even that, if he wanted these kinds of unconstitutional programs to be effective.
Christie would go on to make the comment that the Senator doesn’t know what it’s like to have to defend the lives of Americans, and that blowing “hot air in a sub-committee meeting” is different.
I guess we forgot that it’s the Senate, and not Christie’s office, that actually deals with foreign policy, and a large amount of domestic policy, which… effects the well-being of every American, and not just people in New Jersey. Wait, that’s right, Obama has a pen and a phone, and Christie seems to be in the mood to want to wield that pen and phone just like Barack in many ways.
Carol Fox’s Question (Gay Marriage & Religious Liberty)
Starts at 6:50 on original video
I think Paul went about this question in a good way. What right does the government have to tell you who you can marry? Why should you be forced to have it approved by the government’s definition of “marriage”? This, I think we can both (me and the Senator) agree, is the true Conservative standpoint, which is that of small government. It is that of removing government from something that many hold to be a religious institution, and the Founder’s agreed that the State should be barred from getting involved with the matters of the church.
Iran Nuclear Deal
Starts at 7:42 on original video
Rand talks about the Iran Nuclear Deal. I can understand his position on it. If you can’t trust some entity (in this case, a foreign nation), then what good is it to enter into a deal with them. He brings up the Soviet Union, and that brings me to Barry Goldwater. Goldwater mentioned in The Conscience Of A Conservative that each deal done with the Soviets was done so from a position of appeasement, and ultimately ended up being bad for the US. The Iran Deal is being done so sort of in a similar fashion. We’re trying to appease them, but not really deal with things head on, and Goldwater was no fan of that.
Rand also mentions that it’s still good to be trying to negotiate, and I can agree with that. I think we both wish it would be from a better position, but the alternative would be to the likes of McCain and Graham, and we all know that wouldn’t go well for anyone involved.
Starts at 8:35 in original video
People have been trying to call out Paul for years on the whole Israel issue, as if they have something. In reality though, there isn’t much to their claims of him flipping on Israel. Foreign Aid has always been a things he’s looked at as something to cut out, and do away with.
To start, here’s The Washington Times: (2013)
“It will be harder to be a friend of Israel if we are out of money. It will be harder to defend Israel if we destroy our country in the process,” Mr. Paul said, noting that the U.S. was running annual deficits in excess of $1 trillion.
He said the U.S. should first target unfriendly countries for cuts, and only after that should Israel be subject to cuts. And he pointed out that Mr. Netanyahu told Congress in 1996 that “ultimately he would like to see Israel independent of foreign aid as well.”
“I would start a little more quickly with those who are enemies of Israel and enemies of the United States, and I’d like to see their aid ended much quicker,” Mr. Paul said. “With regard to Israel, it could be gradual phenomenon. It doesn’t mean we disengage from Israel.”
Here’s Politico: (2011)
“I go to a tea party, and you know what they say to me? ‘It’s not enough. It’s not enough. Where’s the other trillion you need?’” Paul said. He’s offered his own budget plan that would cut spending by $500 billion this year, including an end to all foreign aid and a dramatic reduction to the U.S. Department of Education’s budget.
And finally, The Daily Caller: (2015)
Paul noted – as he has previously – that America should not be borrowing money from countries such as China so that it can send money to Israel. He added, “What I will say and I will say over and over again, we cannot give away money we don’t have.” Paul rightfully acknowledges that Israel is “a great ally.”
While aid is often seized upon by Israel critics as a means through which to criticize Israel, or to imply that Israel is a “vassal state” of the U.S., the reality is that American aid to Israel represents approximately 1.2 percent of Israel’s total budget. And amongst these funds, large chunks of the funds must be spent in the United States on the acquisition of American defense equipment, services, and training.
Pro-Israel policy analyst Elliott Abrams, who served as a deputy national security adviser to President George W. Bush said, “My view is over time it would be healthy for the relationship if the aid diminished. Israel should be less dependent on American financial assistance and should become the kind of ally that we have in Australia, Canada, or the United Kingdom: an intimate military relationship and alliance, but no military aid.”
In each o these, I think he brings up a good point too. Paul brings up the point that we cannot project power and strength from bankruptcy court. We cannot show the world that America is strong when we’re borrowing money from China and other countries to then just give out as foreign aid. Why more people in DC don’t get this is more speculation rather than known fact, sadly.
But things get a bit more interesting after this. Christie chimes back in, and talks about his plan for military funding, and then goes on to criticize Paul’s call to cut all foreign aid, even to Israel. The problem I have with this is that Christie assumes that Israel cannot survive without the US to send them cash, and this would be severely underestimating the abilities of Israel, considering that they’ve come out on top of several wars with lots of gained territory before.
Paul, in my opinion, did quite well. The scuffles with Trump and Christie require a bit more in-depth research, but when done, you can clearly see that Rand has the high ground, and isn’t wrong on those issues. Underestimating Paul is something that the other candidates shouldn’t do. Rand may not be Ron, but he watched Ron in the Presidential debates. He knows what to expect. He know’s that they’re going to try and short-change him, so being on-the-attack like he was,is completely understandable.