Rand Paul

Yes, Rand Paul is the future of the GOP

Over at the American Spectator, Reid Smith and Jamie Weinstein (so much for that “I before E” rule, right?), debate whether Rand Paul is the future of the Republican Party.

Smith takes the pro-Paul position in his part, “A New Age of Liberty,” in which he touts the libertarian scion’s innovative tactics and positions and success in just three years in the Senate. Weinstein takes the anti-Paul side, under the head “GOP Less Libertarian Thank You Think,” using more concrete examples, but making less sense doing it.

Weinstein’s main point against Rand Paul is ideological, and no surprise, focuses on the area where he differs most sharply with  party leadership: foreign policy. He argues that while Paul turned heads with his drone filibuster and then helped defeat the authorization of force in Syria resolution, the Syria result was an exception, and the continued support for military action against Iranian nuclear capability is the rule. Paul didn’t tilt the party more isolationist, Weinstein claims, people just didn’t like the options in Syria. While a convincing argument, we have another data point now with which we can test this theory: Ukraine.

Followingly less than a year after the Syria debate, 56% of Americans say we should “not get too involved” in Russia’s annexation of Ukraine either. And while 67% of Republicans disapprove of President Obama’s handling of the situation so far, 50% say it’s important we don’t get involved.

Why Republicans should follow Rand Paul’s lead

The Republican Party seems poised for a successful mid-term election. There has even been talk of a building “Republican wave,” should voter dissatisfaction intensify and solidify, though its far too early to say for sure what will happen.

But if a “Republican wave” does indeed happen this fall and the party takes control of the Senate, a goal that has proved to be out of reach in the past two cycles, GOP leaders and talking heads should be cautious in overstating what it means.

Yes, President Barack Obama is plagued by low approval ratings and rejection of Obamacare, his signature domestic achievement. Voters aren’t too thrilled about the state of the economy or his handling of foreign policy.

But Republicans must realize that electoral success this doesn’t mean that voters have embraced the party, as polls almost universally show. In a two-party system at a time of malaise, the party not in control is the beneficiary of voter anger. This was true in 2006 when Democrats won control of Congress. It was true in 2010 when Republicans gained 63 seats on their way to winning the House of Representatives.

There is no denying that the Republican Party has a very real messaging problem, and party leaders realize it. That’s why the Republican National Committee released a report, The Growth and Opportunity Project, to try to figure out what went wrong in the 2012 election as well as try to find solutions to expand its reach.

Though that “autopsy,” so to speak, raised some excellent points, it alienated many of the grassroots activists that compromise part of the Republican base.

Collection of Phone Records Expansion: Unintended Consequence of NSA Lawsuits

The government may have to expand its surveillance programs following news concerning several lawsuits filed against the NSA. Why? Because the NSA will have to avoid destructing phone records in order to preserve evidence requested by a number of lawyers involved in NSA-related lawsuits.

The unexpected change in plans would force the NSA to keep all phone records it collects, which would mean that the agency would have to expand its programs and database in order to respond to requirements put forward for litigation purposes.

ACLU’s lawyer Patrick Toomey, who’s involved in the lawsuit against the government’s unconstitutional surveillance programs, says that the lawsuit was filed precisely to ensure that the telephone data collection programs are not expanded, but ended for good. According to the lawyer, the government never discussed the possibility of an expansion of the data collection program just to respond to litigation requirements.

It would be especially difficult for anybody to consider the government would use this excuse to expand the program when President Barack Obama just ordered senior officials to leave the data collection to the phone companies that log the calls. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court will have to give the heads up on expending the data collection program, which would not be a problem for the government.

Rand Paul nixes new Iran sanctions during negotations

Just a few weeks ago, it looked like Congress was going to overwhelmingly pass new Iran sanctions while the Obama administration was still negotiating with the prospective nuclear nation over their enrichment program. That hit a brick wall this week as Senator Rand Paul became the first Republican to denounce the idea:

I’ve been for sanctions. I have voted for sanctions in the past, to try to get the Iranians to negotiate. I think while they’re negotiating, and if we can see that they’re negotiating in good faith, I don’t think it’s a good idea to pass sanctions while we’re in the midst of negotiations.

Now it looks like there may not even be a vote on new sanctions until this summer. Even under a Democrat-led Senate, it’s an entirely new thing for this kind of dithering and delay on Iran issues. However, coming less than a year after the failed Syria military intervention idea, it’s becoming clearer that the American people and even their representatives may be weary of perpetual global police action at our expense.

Rand Paul talks insurance cancellations, freedom of choice

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) decided to use the story of a Kentucky family yesterday to illustrate how the Affordable Care Act, or ObamaCare, has been hurting common Americans.

He took the story of the Mangiones to the floor of the Senate to explain why President Obama’s promise regarding people’s freedom of choice was misleading at best.

When the President announced that if you liked your insurance plan you would be able to keep it, he ensured the public that our freedom of maintaining a plan granting us the type of coverage we find fitting to our lifestyle would be respected. Now that a small number of Americans are buying insurance through the glitchy heath care exchange website, we are learning that the promise the President made hasn’t been kept.

Because individuals are required by law to purchase insurance plans that cover more than what they are willing to pay for, people’s plans are being canceled for not qualifying under the new health care laws. The same plans President Obama once said individuals could keep, if they liked it.

According to Sen. Paul, the Mangiones “had an individual policy they were happy with. They paid $300 a month.” Once they enrolled for ObamaCare, they learned that “they are now going to be asked to pay $900 a month for things they don’t want and they didn’t choose to have.”

Sen. Paul went on to explain how his own experience with signing up for Obamacare was a failure and how important it is for us to tackle ObamaCare’s freedom of choice problem by keeping the law from hurting more families.

Rand Paul: “The American soldier, a volunteer, in defense of liberty”

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul spoke before a room brimming with cadets at The Citadel yesterday in a speech that was rightly considered an early stump effort toward an eventual Presidential run.

And, as The New York Times helpfully points out, he did address points that were not even remotely subtle nods toward presenting himself a viable candidate in the coming election, with emphasis on one special issue in particular:

Mr. Paul was speaking as a member of the Senate’s Foreign Relations and Homeland Security Committees, and he never mentioned his prospective presidential run. But allusions to it have been unavoidable throughout his trip to this early primary state. He drew applause in the packed hall when he reprised a line of attack against former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton for her handling of the terrorist assault on the United States mission in Benghazi, Libya, last year, saying that it had been a “dereliction of duty” and should “preclude Hillary Clinton from ever holding high office again.”

What Does Pope Francis Have to Hide?

Pope Francis

As troubling as it is to have leadership in the White House insisting it’s so above the fray that it must learn from the news (just like you and me, kids!) when serious allegations of improper behavior by government entities is occurring, this latest “mea culpa because I just didn’t know” is kind of fun. For Catholics, anyway:

In light of a recent report, Senator Rand Paul (R., Ky.) fears the National Security Agency may be spying on President Barack Obama. “They could well be spying on the president, for all I know,” Paul says, in an interview with National Review Online. “He has a cell phone, and, in fact, my guess is that they have collected data on the president’s phone.”

“Liberals Have No Idea How Capitalism Works” Says Rand Paul

Listening to lawmakers talk about the economy when they do not understand the mechanisms behind capitalism can be quite frustrating. Too often, they are unaware of how the system works and why it gives rise to affordable services and products, making trade and the distribution of several products, from basic to valuable items, accessible to nearly almost every American.

But every now and then, a legislator comes along to prove that they weren’t only elected to brag about passing complicated laws on national television.

Sean Hannity had Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) as a guest on his show to ask him a few questions regarding ObamaCare, the problematic Health Insurance Marketplace website and why Americans are appalled to have learned that their insurance premiums are actually much higher now than they were before the law kicked in.

According to Sen. Paul “if you mandate what is included in your insurance policy, if you say it has to cover all kinds of new things that haven’t been covered, it has to be more expensive,” which is why so many young and healthy people are quickly discovering that their coverage is much more expensive than before. While the Obama administration is attempting to give access to health coverage to every single American through ObamaCare, the final cost was apparently never taken into consideration.

The administration keeps repeating that people will now get better coverage without having to pay as much, but consumers are slowly learning that that is simply untrue, since all they have access to is insurance premiums offering excessive coverage that do not fit their budget.

Rand Paul proposes constitutional amendment to make laws applicable to Congress

If laws do not apply equally to Americans and members of the U.S. Congress, they shouldn’t be put on the books in the first place.

While this thought may seem commonsensical enough, it does not seem good enough for folks in Washington. The Affordable Care Act, for an instance, ensures that lawmakers continue to obtain federal employer contributions, which are destined to help them with their health insurance. The financial assistance that lawmakers and some Capitol Hill aides will continue to receive what amounts to an exemption from ObamaCare, which prompted Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) to act and ensure the legislative language is modified so that lawmakers are not exempt from the law.

To prevent this sort of thing from ever happening again, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) drafted a constitutional amendment that would assure Congress “shall make no law applicable to a citizen of the United States that is not equally applicable to Congress.”

According to The Daily Caller, Senator Paul explained earlier in September that the amendment he was then working on was directed to Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts: “If he likes Obamacare so much, I’m going to give him an amendment that gives Obamacare to Justice Roberts.”

Ted Cruz has been on the Senate floor for over 18 hours

Ted Cruz filibusters CR

“I rise today in opposition to ObamaCare. I rise today in an effort to speak for 26 million Texans and for 300 million Americans,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said yesterday at 2:41pm as he began a filibuster of the House version of the Continuing Resolution (CR), the stop-gap spending measure that Congress must past to avoid a government shutdown.

What has been billed as a “filibuster” isn’t actually a filibuster, as the motion to proceed on the CR will take place today regardless of what Cruz says. Nevertheless, Cruz has used his time — controlling the floor of the Senate for nearly 19 hours, the fourth longest speech in the chamber’s history — to express a multitude concerns about the 2010 healthcare law and Majority Leader Harry Reid’s opposition to raising the vote threshold for changes to the CR to 60 votes (only 51 votes are currently required to make changes).

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