03.14.2013 0

Rand Paul Stands Up to McCain at CPAC

By Brad Tidwell

Rand Paul faced a revved-up crowd at CPAC 2013, where many of the members of the crowd stood for the full speech in honor of Rand’s filibuster speech. Rand followed a rousing speech by Marco Rubio, who is also considered a top pick for a presidential run in 2016.

Rand immedately opened his speech with a reference to his filibuster in front of the Senate, joking that while his speech was only slated to fill 10 minutes, he had brought 16 hours worth of reading material with him, gesturing to some binders he had brought for effect. From his prepared remarks:

“I have a message for the President, a message that is loud and clear, a message that doesn’t mince words. The message for the President is that no one person gets to decide the law, no one person gets to decide your guilt or innocence. My question to the President was about more than just killing Americans on American soil. My question was about whether Presidential power has limits.”

Rand also made indirect reference to McCain’s “Whacko bird” quote about his filibuster, but rather than calling out names, he went to the heart of the matter- the constitutional quesiton.

“To those who would dismiss this debate as frivolous, I say tell that to the heroic young men and women who have sacrificed their limbs and lives, tell it to the 6,000 parents whose kids died as American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, tell them that the Bill of Rights is no big deal. … Yes, the filibuster was about drones, but also about much more. Do we have a Bill of Rights or not? Do we have a Constitution or not and will we defend it?”

Rand’s speech was very well received, with tremendous applause from the group of mostly-students who had gathered to see the speech. Rand Paul still gets a lot of support from people who supported his father, Ron Paul, for President. Rand made reference to many of his younger supporters in his speech, calling them the “Facebook Generation”:

“The Facebook generation can detect falseness and hypocrisy a mile away. They are the core of the ‘leave me alone’ coalition. They doubt that Social Security will be there for them. … Ask them whether we should put a kid in jail for the nonviolent crime of drug use and you’ll hear a resounding no.”

While the views of the “Facebook generation” are not a part of the mainstream of the Republican Party’s beliefs or platform, they enjoy tremendous support from Rand’s younger supporters. Whether this popularity translates into electoral success nationally remains to be seen.

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