Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) launched his presidential campaign this morning. He’s the second Republican to throw his hat in the ring following his colleague Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX).
I am happy to see a libertarian Republican enter the horse race, if only to have some libertarian issues get some much-needed attention. During his announcement, Paul called out the NSA snooping dragnet against American citizens, which he promised to end on day one of his presidency.
Said Paul, “The president created this vast dragnet by executive order. And as president on day one, I will immediately end this unconstitutional surveillance,” Paul, speaking before a raucous crowd in Kentucky, said. “I believe we can have liberty and security. And I will not compromise your liberty for a false sense of security, not now, not ever. ”
“Your phone records are yours,” Paul said during his speech. “The phone records of law-abiding citizens are none of their damn business.”
Paul’s position on the NSA will provide a nice contrast to the other candidates, most of whom support reforming the surveillance agency or just support snooping on citizens.
On the other hand, Paul cast a crucial “no” vote on a recent NSA reform package just last year, and with the GOP take-over of the Senate reform seems unlikely any time soon. Some say he he voted “no” on the reform to keep the issue alive for his 2016 campaign, while Paul claimed he opposed the bill because it did not go far enough.
We’ll see how the campaign plays out, but let’s hope Paul at least forces some of these other candidates to take positions on the civil liberty issue.