As I watched U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) give his announcement speech yesterday, I was struck by what was missing. While I’m sure this could be a longer list if you were to consider every issue that will be injected into the 2016 race, here are seven things Paul didn’t address which are surprising knowing his past history and their importance to grassroots conservatives.
1. Religious Liberty
It seems rather odd to me that a candidate who wants to bring a message of prosperity and liberty neglected to address this hot issue. He was unavailable for comment when the controversy on Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act blew up.
He did make these remarks in a interview with the Brody File.
The First Amendment says keep government out of religion. It doesn’t say keep religion out of government. So you have a role and a place here. I open the Senate each Wednesday morning, and we open it every day with a prayer. So, you have prayer in your government. Our religion is part of our daily life and part of our government, and always has been.
The one thing I would say is, and this is given as free advice, don’t always look to Washington to solve anything. And, in fact, the moral crisis we have in our country—there is a role for us trying to figure out things like marriage, there’s also a moral crisis that allows people to think that there would be some sort of other marriage. And so, really there’s a role outside and inside government. But I think the exhortation to try to change people’s thoughts also has to come from the countryside, from everywhere outside of Washington. In fact, we’re the most disconnected city on the planet from the people. So don’t have a lot of faith in what’s going on up here.
That doesn’t mean don’t participate with us up here and try to make it better. Definitely do, but realize, like every other problem, that—I’ve said this before: We need a revival in the country. We need another Great Awakening with tent revivals of thousands of people saying reform or see what’s going to happen if we don’t reform.
That’s all well and good, but what, as President, would he do to ensure our very first freedom is protected? I hope that he would address this topic more.
I find it odd that he didn’t mention Obamacare even once during his remarks. Since he is for individual liberty and for limited government, I have no doubt a President Paul would be good on this issue. Why not talk about it though?
As 2016 rolls closer, we’ve yet to see President Obama’s signature law take full effect. Paul should note what he has done in the Senate thus far to defeat it. As a doctor, he carries even more credibility on the issue. What would health care reform look like under a Paul administration?
This is a hot potato that he can’t avoid touching. Paul has been harder to pin down on this issue. Border security is one of the top issues among the conservative grassroots. It’s not that he hasn’t addressed it at all, but as a presidential candidate he will need to lay out his plan for border security and any type of reform he seeks to bring to the table.
4. Common Core
I found it interesting that he discussed school choice, but didn’t talk about limiting the federal government’s role in education. With Common Core being the hot education topic, I am surprised he didn’t use it as an argument for school choice. He has addressed Common Core in the past, but I would sure be interested in hearing where he stands on the attempts to reauthorize No Child Left Behind in Congress.
5. Monetary Policy
This surprised me the most. Again I’m not suggesting it is a topic he’s shying away from. He did an Audit the Fed rally in Iowa not that long ago, but this has been a major issue for him. He has the ability to address our weak dollar and make it a campaign issue forcing other candidates to address it.
If you are going to talk about liberty wouldn’t it make sense to bring up the millions of pre-born babies denied the right to life? He didn’t have to say much, but he should have said something, anything about the issue.
This issue isn’t really surprise as it’s a topic he doesn’t address much, sees as a state issue, and would rather see government out of all together. He could have brought it up in the context of religious liberty however and he failed to do that.
Paul has been reaching beyond typical Republican circles in speeches across the country. He desires to bring people into the party. Some of the outreach he has been doing will serve him well should he win the nomination, but he has to win the nomination, which means addressing issues of concern among mainstream conservatives as well.