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Press Release - In Debate Showdown, Rand Paul The Only Adult on Stage

September 17, 2015

Chicago Tribune

By John Kass

September 17, 2015

Donald Trump wanted to kick him off the debate stage. Fox News ignored him. CNN limited his time, then called him a loser.

But Rand Paul won the Republican presidential debate.

It wasn't even close.

Is he perfect, or some savior on a white horse? No. Yet the others on the debate stage talked like angry children determined to show the world how tough they'd be. They promised to rip up the Iran deal and either push Vladimir Putin around or ignore him completely.

But Paul, the senator from Kentucky, spoke like a thoughtful grown-up, overshadowing them all on foreign policy, explaining that intervening in Middle East civil wars is a recipe for disaster.

"If you want boots on the ground, and you want them to be our sons and daughters, you've got 14 other choices," Paul said during the debate. "There will always be a Bush or Clinton for you if you want to go back to war in Iraq."

Clearly the media don't like him. And Trump doesn't like him, singling Paul out for attack at the outset.

Trump is the front-runner. So why attack Paul, who's been so starved of media oxygen? Because New Hampshire approaches, and Trump will fade eventually, having demonstrated to Americans that he lacks the requisite depth for the job.

The GOP establishment can afford a Carly Fiorina, pretending to be an outsider, or even a Marco Rubio, thrilling a few of the TV talking heads by morphing into some Leonidas of Sparta from Miami, eager to kick those insolent Persian envoys down the well.

But what the Republican establishment cannot afford is Paul as their nominee. That would expose the neocons and the war party, and the security surveillance state.

And it might help remind Americans that conservatives once opposed foreign adventures, meaning wars, because wars by definition lead to the aggrandizement of federal power.

It is the universal law of political arithmetic that as the government gorges and muscles up, individual liberty fades.

Paul doesn't have buzz, but buzz is overrated, as is snark and hair.

Former President George W. Bush had buzz when he plunged foolishly into Iraq and that led to the terror of ISIS. President Barack Obama had buzz, just about the time he drew that "red line" in the sands of Syria, and before the dictator in Libya was toppled.

Obama began to lose buzz with the growth of ISIS, which he dismissed as some kind of terrorist junior varsity.

The flood of refugees from North Africa and Syria —the forerunners of a larger stampede threatening Europe — has both Bush and Obama's name on it.

But you won't hear that on CNN (the Democratic network) or Fox News (the Republican network), or from other establishment Democratic or Republican candidates.

"I've made my career as being an opponent of the Iraq War," Paul said. "I was opposed to the Syria war. I was opposed to arming people who are our enemies.

"Iran is now stronger because Hussein is gone (from Iraq). Hussein was the great bulwark and counterbalance to the Iranians. So when we complain about the Iranians, you need to remember that the Iraq War made it worse …

"We have to learn sometimes the interventions backfire. The Iraq War backfired and did not help us. We're still paying the repercussions of a bad decision."

Click here to read more: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/kass/ct-kass-debate-wrapup-met-0918-20150917-column.html

Rand Paul, Press Release - In Debate Showdown, Rand Paul The Only Adult on Stage Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/316859

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