Rand Paul: ‘The Enemy Is Too Often Us’

The senator’s speech at the Faith & Freedom Coalition oozes with disdain for Congress.

National Journal
Brian Resnick
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Brian Resnick
June 20, 2014, 8:10 a.m.

A can­did­ate really can’t lose cam­paign­ing against Con­gress — even if he so hap­pens to work there.

Ac­cord­ing to Gal­lup, just 7 per­cent of Amer­ic­ans say they have either “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of con­fid­ence in Con­gress, a his­tor­ic low re­cor­ded by the polling firm. So it makes sense for Sen. Rand Paul to cri­ti­cize his col­leagues in the run-up to a likely run for the White House. “I can tell you without ex­ag­ger­a­tion that I’ve met the en­emy, and the en­emy is too of­ten us,” he said in a Fri­day speech at the Faith & Free­dom Co­ali­tion’s “Road to the Ma­jor­ity” con­fer­ence, which at­tracts Chris­ti­an-val­ues voters to Wash­ing­ton.

Many of the speak­ers at the event spoke in pop­u­list terms — Rick San­tor­um called for a turn to “blue-col­lar con­ser­vat­ism,” Michele Bach­mann anchored her fiery speech in Obama’s low poll num­bers. But Paul’s an­ger was fo­cused mainly on Con­gress. Here are some of his key lines:

Con­gress is re­spons­ible for “the bi­par­tis­an de­struc­tion of our cur­rency,” he said.

“They pass 100-page bills no one has read,” he said. “No bill should ever pass that has not been read.”

“Con­gress routinely passes laws they ex­empt them­selves from,” he said.

“Over time many politi­cians be­come dis­tant and dis­tanced from their con­stitu­ents,” he said.

“It is the right time for term lim­its,” he said.

His speech was tight, lyr­ic­al even, and at one point echoed Lin­coln. Paul said, “I don’t think a na­tion can long en­dure” with leg­al­ized abor­tion.

Paul isn’t an ob­vi­ous choice for re­li­gious-val­ues voters — Bach­mann and San­tor­um have proven to be a lot more out­spoken on re­li­gious is­sues. But he doesn’t shy away from the is­sues either. “No gov­ern­ment should make any­one choose between their faith and their live­li­hood,” he said of the pending Hobby Lobby Su­preme Court case.

If any­thing, Paul has proven him­self able to pitch him­self ef­fect­ively to many ideo­lo­gic­al corners of the Re­pub­lic­an Party — the liber­tari­an lean­ing and the faith-based. And the kids love him. That, com­bined with a war against the un­pop­u­lar es­tab­lish­ment, could provide him with a strong base go­ing for­ward.

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