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Rand Paul Finally Hits His Stride – and the Establishment

Sen. Rand Paul on Tuesday deployed himself as a battering ram against Establishment darlings Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush and a potential favorite, Carly Fiorina, confronting and undercutting their arguments more aggressively and effectively than any of the leading “outsiders” in the race.

Paul did the most damage to Rubio, repeatedly questioning his conservatism during one of the most heated exchanges of the night’s GOP debate on Fox Business News.

Though Rubio countered well, Paul weakened any claim Rubio might make on the base, slamming his plans to provide a new child tax credit, which Paul described as effectively an expenditure, and increase U.S. involvement overseas.

Rubio opened himself up to Paul’s criticism by touting the credit.

“And so, yes, I have a child tax credit increase, and I’m proud of it. I am proud that I have a pro-family tax code, because the pro- family tax plan I have will strengthen the most important institution in the — in the country, the family,” Rubio said.

Paul described the credit as a federal expenditure masquerading as a tax cut, saying it failed to pass the conservative smell test.

“We have to decide what is conservative and what isn’t conservative,” Paul declared. “Is it fiscally conservative to have a trillion-dollar expenditure? We’re not talking about giving people back their tax money. He’s talking about giving people money they didn’t pay. It’s a welfare transfer payment. Is it conservative to have … a new welfare program that’s a refundable tax credit?”

Rubio said the credit could be used by people to offset their Social Security taxes. But then, presumably, the money owed to Social Security would have to come from somewhere else.

Paul then dug into Rubio’s military spending plans.

“Add that to Marco’s plan for $1 trillion in new military spending, and you get something that looks, to me, not very conservative. Thank you,” Paul said.

Rubio turned the tables a bit, calling Paul a “committed isolationist.” But by then, the damage was done.

Later, when Bush and Fiorina sought to sound tough by advocating a no-fly zone over Syria, Paul called out the thoughtlessness underpinning their instinct for interventionism.

“We have to lead, we have to be involved. We should have a no fly zone in Syria,” said Bush, a former governor of Florida.

“We must have a no-fly zone in Syria because Russia cannot tell the United States of America where and when to fly our planes,” said Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard.

Well, just one problem with that, Paul noted. If you want to create an empty sky where Russian planes are operating, you’re going to have to remove them — by force.

“Russia flies in that zone at the invitation of Iraq. I’m not saying it’s a good thing, but you better know at least what we’re getting into,” Paul said. “So, when you think it’s going to be a good idea to have a no fly zone over Iraq, realize that means you are saying we are going to shoot down Russian planes.”

Paul’s final remarks included yet another claim to the conservative mantle and an implicit criticism of the Establishment candidates’ failure to “conserve all the money” taxpayers entrust them with.

“We have to be conservative with all spending,” whether for the military or domestically, Paul said. “I’m the only fiscal conservative on the stage.”

This piece also appears in PoliZette.

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34 Responses to Rand Paul Finally Hits His Stride – and the Establishment

  1. SenRand is like the nerd in the back of the room. Nobody likes him, but they want him to be in their study group because he’ll write up the report.
    He always hears “the beat of a different drummer”.

  2. He does’t seem to be the most ardent supporter or Israel…
    our only ally in that hell hole part of the world. Don’t think we need another President with that attitude.

      • I don’t see it. Rubio is not very eloquent when he’s not speaking in sound bites from his rehearsed stump speeches. And the amnesty thing is going to bite him. Other than being a part time Senator, what exactly has he accomplished? He is GOPe version 2.0.

        • x 1,000

          I agree with Trump when he says (tweets) that Rubio is a lightweight, highly overrated.

          Everything he said last night I’d already heard from him multiple times. It’s all scripted and rehearsed. He’s nothing but a slick, smooth-
          talking professional politician who is low on accomplishments and high on ambition.

  3. While I like him , how do his number show he is even in the running?

    Dole endorses JEB. Hilarious What a hoot.

    I endorse the Donald, about the same effect as Dole. None.

    • I agree with you that Rand Paul’s poll numbers are low. Of note, however, is the fact that going into last night’s debate, Paul’s Real Clear Politics average was at 3.0% while Christie’s was at 2.2%.

      Christie has consistently been at 2%, yet he is a guest on at least one Fox show per day every day, often on two shows a day (one in the morning, and one in the evening). No matter the fact that he has never risen to even 3%, Fox is in love with Christie, pushing him on us daily, kissing his butt with softball interviews.

  4. Loved it when Rand reminded Trump that China was not part of the TPP. Is it possible that Trump was unaware of this fact? He mumbled ‘Yeah, right’.

    • Girly, Trump seems to be a bit careless with facts, not so good in politics on a high level. I like his attitude in foreign politics though, if I have understood it right. That is, US is to be more isolationistic and stop being a world police. The enormous money spent on weapons and wars could sure be used in better ways in the US. Well, he sounds libertarian there, a bit like dear Rand Paul. Trump and Paul ??

      • I love your enthusiasm for Rand, SL. After 13 years of war, I too wish we could become isolationists and tend to the internal destruction of our own country – courtesy of Barack Obama. It’s going to be a herculean task for whoever is elected.

        @Tex – You are spot on about Trump being over his head and winging it on certain issues. He becomes uncharacteristically quiet and reserved during those times. Dead giveaway.

        This morning on MoJoe, Mika pushed and pushed Trump to explain exactly HOW he would send 11M illegals back home. Trump never answered the question but went on for 5 minutes about why they had to leave.
        I was hoping Mika would ask him if these 11M people would be forced to sell their houses if they were property owners and what effect that would have on the R.E. market and the banks.

        And no one has asked him how he can force them to take their American citizen anchor babies/children with them. I can’t believe he said that…on many occasions.
        His stance on mass deportation is just insane…and will cost the Repubs the election if he is nominated.

    • I was wondering whether Trump realized that as well Girly1. If not then it was really pretty embarrassing. He is correct that China stands to benefit indirectly, but I don’t think Trump was referring to that since he kept going on about currency manipulation by China and India.

      I like a lot about Trump, but he’s really in above his head when others are discussing details on many of these issues. I really wish he’d nail down some facts rather than just winging it and sometimes sounding ignorant in these debates. Many of his statements last night and were just not coherent. He still gets big points for sticking to his stance on immigration though!

        • I love your enthusiasm for Rand, SL. After 13 years of war, I too wish we could become isolationists and tend to the internal destruction of our own country – courtesy of Barack Obama. It’s going to be a herculean task for whoever is elected.

          @Tex – You are spot on about Trump being over his head and winging it on certain issues. He becomes uncharacteristically quiet and reserved during those times. Dead giveaway.

          This morning on MoJoe, Mika pushed and pushed Trump to explain exactly HOW he would send 11M illegals back home. Trump never answered the question but went on for 5 minutes about why they had to leave.
          I was hoping Mika would ask him if these 11M people would be forced to sell their houses if they were property owners and what effect that would have on the R.E. market and the banks.

          And no one has asked him how he can force them to take their American citizen anchor babies/children with them. I can’t believe he said that…on many occasions.
          His stance on mass deportation is just insane…and will cost the Repubs the election if he is nominated.

          China appears to be negotiating their own free-trade Pact with 15 countries.

          Very confusing.

          http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2015/10/09/why-china-doesnt-mind-being-left-out-trans-pacific-partnership/73640192/

          • I think their is a “law” that under a certain age children go with the “family”. Just sayin’

            I am not saying I am behind mass deportation but I am for deportation of a certain segment of the illegal population, which by the way is closer to 20million+

    • ok — I don’t think the whole China thing is going to happen, but the fact that TPP is , is ridiculous. Boy king has challenged Americans to read it all, now that is apparently a done deal it is online. But I doubt that includes the real deal.

  5. Keith, I watched the same debate you did. Hat tip for the keen insights about what I missed. Which is the reason we miss you when you are gone!