Review of Rand Paul Announcement Speech

Two Republicans, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul have formally announced that they are running for President. I watched both speeches and last week gave a review of Ted Cruz.

Last Tuesday, April 7, Rand Paul announced his candidacy in a speech in Louisville, Kentucky. His opening statement laid out the overall strategy of his campaign. “We have come to take our country back!”

He is not campaigning against Democrats. He is campaigning against “special interests that use Washington as their personal piggy bank.” He named them the Washington machine and career politicians. He did not hesitate or wince when he included Republicans in that group.

He spoke of his life as a small town doctor before getting into politics. He spoke of the rewarding feeling of becoming an eye surgeon. He shared his experience on a medical mission trip to Guatamala and a couple who could see each other clearly for the first time in years after he performed eye surgery. He told of the inspiration of his grandmother that led him to becoming an eye surgeon.

After sharing of how he had the opportunity to enjoy the American dream, he turned to a sobering worry about a crushing national debt and wondered, “What kind of America will our grandchildren see?” Once again he made the point that both parties share the blame. He specifically pointed out that big government debt doubled under a Republican administration and now was tripling under the Obama administration.

His simple call, “Quit spending money we don’t have.” He tied spending to its impact on American liberty, opportunity, and justice. He spoke to Americans from all walks of life, “whether you wear a suit, a uniform, or overalls, whether you’re white or black, rich or poor.”

Moving back to his basic strategy for his campaign, he zeroed in on the race for the Republican party nomination with the 30 second sound bite that summarized the entire speech.

“In order to restore America, one thing is for certain though: We cannot, we must not dilute our message or give up on our principles. If we nominate a candidate who is simply Democrat Light, what’s the point? Why bother? We need to boldly proclaim our vision for America. We need to go boldly forth under the banner of liberty that clutches the Constitution in one hand the Bill of Rights in the other.”

He listed his bullet points of goals for a Rand Paul Presidency:

  • Constitutional amendment to balance the budget
  • Term Limits for members of Congress
  • Read the Bills Act
  • Economic freedom zones in places like Detroit and the Appalachian Region
  • Bring manufacturing jobs back to America
  • Lower taxes on American profits overseas
  • School choice
  • Defend America from radical Islam
  • National Defense unencumbered by overseas nation-building
  • Immediate end to unconstitutional surveillance of computers and phones

Borrowing a line from Ronald Reagan, he tied it directly to foreign policy:

“At home, conservatives understand that government is the problem, not the solution. Conservatives should not succumb, though, to the notion that a government inept at home will somehow succeed in building nations abroad.”

He supports negotiations with Iran as long as we negotiate from a position of strength. He will insist that any deal with Iran come before Congress.

In another quote for sound bite, he tied fiscal policy and foreign policy together.

“… we do not project strength by borrowing money from China to send it to Pakistan. Let’s quit building bridges in foreign countries and use that money to build some bridges here at home. It angers me to see mobs burning our flag and chanting, ‘Death to America’ in countries that receive millions of dollars in our foreign aid. I say it must end. I say not one penny more to these haters of America.”

He ended his speech with broad visions of an exceptional America that is a beacon for the world, that has equally applied criminal justice, with a restrained IRS that cannot harass American citizens, large cities shining with creativity and ingenuity. He closed as he began with a call to take America back and called upon God’s help and liberty lovers everywhere that he was putting himself forward as a candidate for President.

There were similarities between Rand Paul and Ted Cruz. Both included liberty and freedom as a central theme. Both spoke of fiscal discipline and smaller government. Both reached out to the African American community with their call for school choice. Rand Paul went further when he addressed the criminal justice system that disproportionately incarcerates people of color. Both made references to Ronald Reagan.

Ted Cruz spoke a great deal about his Christian faith and challenged evangelical Christians to stand up and show up. Rand Paul focused on the theme of liberty and called on those who are disenchanted with career politicians and big government to join him in the journey to take America back. Rand Paul did not narrow the focus of his call to the religious right although he certainly will appeal to that group.

Rand Paul has at least one career politician supporting him. Mitch McConnell said early on that he was behind Rand Paul. McConnell did not support Paul when he ran for Senate in 2010 but Paul did support McConnell in 2014. I don’t think that anyone believes this alliance would exist if both were not from the same state. Nevertheless, with McConnell as Senate Majority Leader, he will persuade some who might otherwise support a more establishment candidate.

There is no doubt that Rand Paul will draw in young, liberty-minded, small government, supporters who will be passionate supporters. He will present a candidacy that is stronger than either of the two of his father, Ron Paul.

Senator Marco Rubio also announced his candidacy today in a conference call. He is scheduled to give his speech later today. I will be writing a summary and review of his announcement speech in the next few days.

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