Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) raised expectations among conservatives in a speech to CPAC on Friday when he promised he will soon unveil a blockbuster new economic proposal.
“In the coming weeks, I will propose the largest tax cut in American history,” Paul said. “I propose we cut everyone’s taxes, from the richest to the poorest.”
Paul raised expectations even further when he claimed that his proposal “will also cut spending and balance the budget in just five years.”
If Paul can deliver on that promise, it may distinguish him in a very crowded field of 2016 Republican Presidential contenders that has seen Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) race to the top of recent polls, while former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL) continues to amass what may be as much as $100 million in a campaign war chest.
Paul continued to hit on his outsider theme in his speech.
“To fix Washington we can’t have business as usual,” he said.
“I propose something truly outrageous. Congress should read every bill.”
The line drew strong applause from the audience, but Paul did not elaborate on the details of that proposal.
“Congress should also live under the laws they pass,” he said, noting that he supports a constitutional amendment that says “Congress shall pass no law that exempts themselves.”
Paul also added that he supports a constitutional amendment that limits the terms members of Congress should serve.
“We should limit all their terms and send career politicians packing. While we’re at it maybe we ought to limit the terms of out-of-control federal judges as well.”
“At home our nation needs new ideas and new answers to old problems,” Paul said, evoking the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King.
“Martin Luther King spoke of two Americas,” Paul said.
In one America, he said, we have life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. In the other, however, the outlook is bleak.
“In my trips to Ferguson, Detroit, Los Angeles, Atlanta. . . I’ve seen that liberal policies have failed our inner cities.”
“We must break down the wall that separates us.”
Paul also blasted Obamacare, and vowed to repeal it.
“In the mistake of the century Justice Roberts said we must presume Obamacare is constitutional. I’ve got a better idea … As a doctor I will make it my mission to heal the nation, reverse the course of Obamacare and repeal every last bit of it,” he said.
“Obama’s fundamental promise if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor was a lie.”
Paul also criticized the federal government’s violation of the privacy of citizens.
“To defend our country we need to gather intelligence on the enemy but when the intelligence lies to Congress how are we to trust them?” he asked rhetorically.
“The phone records of law abiding citizens are none of their damn business”
Paul also addressed the issue of foreign policy, an area where some have criticized his views as isolationist.
“Our freedom is threatened from outside our borders,” he said “We must protect ourselves from jihadists.”
Paul criticized Hillary Clinton, the front-runner for the 2016 Democratic nomination for President, as an utter failure in foreign policy during her tenure as Secretary of State.
“In the Middle East one form of tyranny replaces another,” Paul said, placing the blame on both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
“Hillary’s War in Libya… made us less safe… radical jihadists [now] run amuck.”
“I believe Hillary Clinton’s abdication of responsibility [in her handling of the Benghazi attacks and the murder of our ambassador there]… her dereliction of duty should forever preclude her from high office,” Paul continued.
“It’s time for Hillary Clinton to permanently retire,” he added.
“In the Middle East a dangerous and barbaric cult has arisen. . . ISIS grew in a safe haven created by arming rebels in the Syrian civil war,” Paul said, something he predicted was a strong likelihood when the rebels were armed.
“Within a year,” he said, “that prediction came true.”
Paul called ISIS “a barbarous aberration.”
“We need a national defense,” he said, that is “robust enough, modern enough [and] nimble.”
Paul also called for “a foreign policy that encourages stability not chaos.”
“At home,” Paul said, “the government is the problem, not the solution.”
“We should not succumb to the notion that a government inept at home will somehow be a success abroad. . . We must be strong. We must defend ourselves,” he added.
We need, Paul said, “a national defense that is unparalleled, undefeatable, and unencumbered by nation building.”
We need “to promote, as Ronald Reagan put it, ‘peace through strength.’”
“We do not project strength,” Paul added, “by borrowing money from China to send it to Pakistan.”
Paul said it angers him to see people protesting against America in countries that receive foreign aid from us.
“Not one penny more to these haters of America,” he said.
Amid some chants of “President Paul, President Paul” from the audience, Paul closed his speech with an altar call for liberty.
“Our best days are ahead of us. What drives us is the desire for freedom,” he concluded.
“Will you stand with me?”
“Will you fight for freedom?”
“Will you vote for freedom?”
In the question and answer session that followed his speech, Paul said that Republicans can win over libertarians, moderates, and independents, but need to change their emphasis.
“We do a great job defending the 2nd amendment, but we have to defend the whole Bill of Rights,” Paul said. One right in particular that needs attention is due process.
Paul cited the case of Kalief Browder, a 16-year-old boy accused of a crime,who spent three years in Rikers Island and tried to commit suicide four times, he said, without having the benefit of a speedy trial.
Paul also said that if he could have just one constitutional amendment passed it would be term limits for members of Congress.
His biggest criticism of Congress, he added, is that it is “dysfunctional.”
“Even when we agree on something, we can’t get it done…. We lurch from one deadline to the next deadline,” he said.
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