Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) announced that he is running for president. The pro-life Libertarian offers something different from the typical alternatives. Like conservatives, he would have a smaller government and support free market economics. Like liberals, he would have a non-interventionist foreign policy, be skeptical of big corporations, and promote civil liberties. Do you think this could be a winning combination? From the Associated Press:
In a 26-minute speech that eviscerated “the Washington machine,” [Rand Paul] spared neither Republican nor Democrat as he attempted to tap into Americans’ deep frustrations with their government.
“I worry that the opportunity and hope are slipping away for our sons and daughters,” the tea party favorite said. “As I watch our once-great economy collapse under mounting spending and debt, I think, `What kind of America will our grandchildren see?'”
He added: “It seems to me that both parties and the entire political system are to blame.”
By criticizing fellow Republicans, Paul showed he was ready to run a tough-talking campaign equally at ease criticizing both major parties.
“Big government and debt doubled under a Republican administration,” Paul said in a swipe at former President George W. Bush, whose brother, Jeb, is expected to be a Paul rival for the GOP nomination.
He immediately followed up: “And it’s now tripling under Barack Obama’s watch.”
In what well might have been a jab at Jeb Bush and other rivals considered more mainstream, he added: “If we nominate a candidate who is simply Democrat Lite, what’s the point?”
At a splashy kickoff rally, Paul promised a government restrained by the Constitution and beholden no more to special interests.
“I have a message, a message that is loud and clear and does not mince words: We have come to take our country back,” he told cheering supporters.
Paul is a fierce critic of Washington, where he is in his first term as a senator but often not in line with his party’s leadership. A banner over the stage in Louisville proclaimed: “Defeat the Washington machine. Unleash the American dream.”
Paul was clearly most passionate about upending the way Washington works.
“I propose we do something extraordinary,” he said. “Let’s just spend what comes in.”
Cheers erupted when he decried government searches of phones and computer records as a threat to civil liberties. Most Republicans defend the practice as a necessary defense against terrorism.
“I say the phone records of law-abiding citizens are none of their damn business,” Paul said of government officials.