KY Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) gave an unprecedented second response to the State of the Union address. In the modern political era, the party not in control of the White House responds to the President’s speech. FL Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) gave the “official” GOP response. That was generally the end of things. Paul’s speech, however, shows that we need a voice beyond the two traditional parties.
Rubio devoted large tracts of his speech defending the GOP against attacks from Obama and the Democrats. He was obsessed establishing the fact that the the GOP is not the party of the wealthy. He tried to turn-away every charge made by Obama and the Democrats. Paul took a different tact and made a full-throated defense of freedom.
Rubio’s message was important, to an extent. Paul’s message, however, was inspiring.
People say America is exceptional. I agree, but it’s not the complexion of our skin or the twists in our DNA that make us unique. America is exceptional because we were founded upon the notion that everyone should be free to pursue life, liberty, and happiness.
For the first time in history, men and women were guaranteed a chance to succeed based NOT on who your parents were but on your own initiative and desire to work.
Paul did not detail his upbringing nor try to argue his roots in the middle class, unlike Rubio. He did not give pablum acknowledgement to the importance of solar and wind power. He didn’t check certain focus-grouped boxes. He advocated for freedom. He also issued a challenge to Obama, and the American people:
Under President Obama, the ranks of America’s poor swelled to almost 1 in 6 people last year, reaching a new high as long-term unemployment left millions of Americans struggling and out of work.
The cycle must be broken.
The willpower to do this will not come from Congress. It must come from the American people.
At first, I thought it was a little weird that Sen. Paul planned to make an additional response to the SOTU. After hearing both Sen. Rubio and Sen. Paul, I understand his reasoning. Sen. Rubio did a decently pedestrian job holding up the Republican standard. He did a fine job defending against attacks from Obama and the Democrats.
Sen. Paul, however, spoke for the American public. He chastised both parties for their wayward ways. Even better, he articulated a positive vision for an adherence to our founding principles. He let the foundational ideas speak for themselves.
Rubio, and much of the GOP establishment, thinks they are on defense. Paul has chosen the offense. I know where I lean. One should never be defensive about freedom.