It’s 40 minutes’ worth, and it ends in a standing ovation. His focus is on the surveillance state and the NSA, and what effect those have on the privacy rights of all of us.
This speech has generated a good deal of reaction. For example, here’s Jennifer Rubin, the Washington Post’s pet “conservative” blogger, who says Paul is “pandering”…
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) went to the University of California at Berkeley to get applause for anti-government, anti-national security rhetoric. Playing to the stereotypical paranoia of government and the identity politics that reverberate in left-wing circles, he told a New York Times reporter, “The first African American president ought to be a little more conscious of the fact of what has happened with the abuses of domestic spying. Martin Luther King was spied upon, civil rights leaders were spied upon, Muhammad Ali was spied upon, antiwar protesters were spied upon.”
This is akin to his equally insulting argument that Jews and African Americans should oppose detention of terrorists at Gitmo because they have historically suffered injustice. African American conservatives like Artur Davis have criticized such statements as condescending and pandering.
Historically, the Republican Party has been just what the public thinks it is, largely a bunch of risk-averse white men who are totally clueless at public relations, even though they are on the right (correct) side of almost every issue. Meanwhile, the liberal Democrats haven’t had a decent rational argument about anything for years, if they ever did. They ream young people, blacks and virtually every other “interest group”that supports them with their policies and they still win most national elections. What a disgraceful group of losers that makes the Republicans. There are literally thousands of chips on the table and they’re leaving them all behind.
Rand Paul is smart enough to realize this and actually goes out and does things about it. Other Republicans should get out their little red book of quotations and Learn from Chairman Rand. The country is changing. Whole new groups are ripe for the picking, most obviously the young who are being so completely raked over by the Obama administration via Obamacare and the rest of the entitlements so many of them know they will never see. They were ready to applaud at Berkeley.
After all these months, I am still on the fence on the “surveillance state” issue. I am in favor of just about anything that helps us to combat terrorists, and the NSA’s vast data-gathering apparatus has not been misused, as far as we know. But isn’t one of the basic principles of conservatism the conviction that power will always be misused, eventually? Which is one of the reasons why it should be dispersed, not centralized.