The PJ Tatler

Paul Revives Phone Records Collection in SOTU Response: 'These Elites Say, Trust Us'

As has become a tradition, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) delivered his own response last night to the State of the Union address, advocating term limits in Congress and a balanced budget.

“You cannot project power from bankruptcy court. It does not make us appear stronger when we borrow money from China and send it to countries that burn our flag. The hollowing out of our national defense comes from the advocates for unlimited spending and perpetual military intervention,” the potential 2016 candidate said in foreign policy remarks that bore shades of his father.

“The Middle East lives in the midst of a 1,000-year war between Sunni and Shia. Superimposed on the long war is a century-old war pitting a barbaric aberration of Islam against civilized Islam.We are foolish to believe we will solve this puzzle. We must defend ourselves and defend vital American interests, but we must not be deluded into believing that we can remake the Middle East in an image of Western Democracy.”

He quoted Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) in talking about the “two Americas,” adding that “compassion cannot be delivered in the form of coercion.”

Paul proposed a full audit of the Pentagon and his Read the Bills Act that would mandate Congress hold off on voting one day for every 20 pages of a bill’s length.

He also revisited the government’s collection of phone records.

“These elites say, ‘trust us, we won’t violate your privacy.’ But when the intelligence director is not punished for lying to Congress, how are we to trust them? Are we to trust them to collect and hold every American’s phone records? Remember, these are the same people who have only a 10 percent approval rating!” Paul said. “The Constitution is clear. Politicians should NOT collect this information without a warrant. Warrants must be specific to an individual and there must be probable cause before government is allowed to search any American’s documents.”

“The president created this vast dragnet by executive order without Congressional authority. He should immediately end this invasion of our privacy. We need to return to our founding principles and stand up for the entire Bill of Rights.”

Paul wasn’t the only potential 2016er who got his say after the speech.

“I would have liked to heard the president talk more about worker training, workforce development,” Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker told MSNBC this morning. “I think those are things empowering the states, governors and state lawmakers in both political parties, to do more. And empowering the federal government to give up some of those things so that the states can do things that help people get the training they need to fill many of the careers that are available today, not only in Wisconsin but across the country. Those are things we can work together on.”

“My hope is — for the good of the country, not just one party or the other — that this president will go beyond the rhetoric,” Walker added. “He’s got every right to lay out his party’s agenda but this is the state of the union, not the state of the Democrat Party. And my hope is he’ll find ways to do more than just grow the economy in Washington, but find ways to grow the economy in cities and towns and villages all across this great country.”