In an interview with the libertarian Reason magazine’s Editor in Chief Matt Welch that was filmed for Reason TV, Senator Rand Paul discusses the 2016 GOP Presidential nomination race and various domestic and foreign policy issues – including Blocking the PATRIOT Act, GOP war hawks, Edward Snowden and fellow Senator Lindsey Graham.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has had a busy couple of months.
In April the junior senator from Kentucky announced that he was officially running for president. In May he released his new book, Taking a Stand, which argues that only a “new kind of Republican” can win a general election against Hillary Clinton, in part by embracing such cross-partisan issues as privacy, as he did most famously in a March 2013 filibuster about drone policy.
And as the clock struck down to June, Paul fulfilled a campaign vow – and pissed off a lot of Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and much of the 2016 presidential field – by blocking reauthorization of the Patriot Act.
Reason Magazine Editor-in-Chief Matt Welch sat down with Rand Paul in his Washington, D.C. campaign office Thursday to discuss his ongoing disputes with GOP hawks like Lindsey Graham, whether Edward Snowden should go to prison, and what will be the future of NSA surveillance.
One particular segment that you have to catch, in case you don’t want to see the entire 15 minute video, is Paul’s response to Senator Lindsey Graham’s condescending attacks on Paul’s defense of the Constitution. It’s EPIC and Senator Paul is right on.
Matt Welch: Lindsey Graham said, as part of his critique of your performance, that you’re more scared of the NSA than you are of ISIS. Is that true?
Senator Rand Paul: You know, I think there are people who…you have to consider the source. This is a person who said that he would use censorship if he needed to. This is the same person who said, “Well, when people ask for an attorney, you should tell them to shut up.” This is the same person who’s also said, “If they ask for a judge just drone ’em.” I mean, some of the stuff I think doesn’t rise beyond middle school kind of rhetoric. So it’s hard to know when to respond to people like that.
But I think ultimately if you want to talk among adults about, “Is ISIS a threat to our country?” Yes. “Is NSA a threat sometimes to our liberty?” Yes. I personally don’t think you have to trade one for the other. I don’t think you have to trade your liberty for security. I think you can have both. I think the Constitution can be a powerful tool. The Constitution never said we wouldn’t go after records of criminals or terrorists. The Constitution just says you have to individualize the suspicion; put a person’s name on it. I tell people, “I want to collect more records of terrorists, just less records of innocent Americans.”
He’s right. Just check out this list of INSANE things that Lindsey Graham has said over the years.