Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) recently explained his decision to speak at the traditionally liberal campus of UC Berkeley to National Journal, saying, “For the Republican Party to win again we need to go places we haven’t been going, and we need to attract people we haven’t been attracting. Part of that is the message, but part of that is also showing up.”
On Wednesday, the Kentucky Republican brought Berkeley students a message focused on privacy and individual liberty which was very well received.
Some, like The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin, criticized Paul’s “pandering in Berkeley”:
Rand Paul, of course, did not tell the Berkeley crowd he is staunchly pro-life or thinks marriage should be limited to “one man and one woman.” He did not revisit his skepticism about civil rights legislation, nor did he detail his budget ideas that would repeal Obamacare and eliminate the departments of Commerce, Education, Energy and Housing and Urban Development. Although he talked to students about civil liberties, he omitted mention of his staunch opposition to any form of gun regulation. For him freedom means coal plants, oil companies and pipeline manufacturers should be freed from the heavy hand of government. He has not made that pitch at Berkeley. In a very real sense, he is trying to pull a fast one on students, concealing his views on a majority of issues while trying to snag them with some anti-government trinkets on national security.
But it’s hard to accept an argument based on what Paul didn’t say at Berkeley. After all, he talked about issues that he rarely goes more than a day or two without publically addressing, the same sort of issues that he spent 13 consecutive hours standing on the Senate floor over last year.
To pretend that the Senator didn’t bring up conservative fiscal issues or tried to play himself off as a love-it-all liberal who hates surveillance during his appearance is not only insulting to the students in attendance, it’s simply dishonest. Watch the speech.
It seems that Paul’s biggest problem is not his passion for the issues on which he chooses to focus. It’s that members of the political establishment of both sides are willing to publically join forces—unlike the private dealings they employ to maintain power—in order to shut him up.