Rand Paul restored a level of respectability to Thursday’s GOP debate that had been missing for much of this season because of the outrageous antics brought on by Donald Trump.
It is no surprise that Sen. Paul has been lambasting Donald Trump. Paul was the first person to stick it to Trump in the first GOP debate held way back in August, accusing him of buying politicians in the debate’s opening minutes. He has since been unrelenting in these attacks against Trump, arguing that his proposals concerning immigration, internet privacy, and national security have been woefully misguided. Trump is a symbol of deteriorating rhetoric and unserious ideas in our politics.
To prove Paul’s point, Trump has responded to his criticisms by attacking Paul’s appearance, standing in the polls and popularity in Kentucky. None of these critiques have even come close to touching on policy. Without Trump, the evening’s debate was full of in-depth policy discussions and an exploration of candidates’ competing views on the issues without the ad hominem attacks.
During the debate, viewers could hear a raucous section of the crowd cheering on Paul after every time he spoke. He commanded an overwhelming level of support in the room. And don’t forget the cheering squadron of fans that interrupted the moderators during the last debate protesting Sen. Paul’s exclusion.
One of the most interesting moments of the debate came when Paul was asked if he could successfully rally the same support for his presidential bid that his father, Ron Paul, had for his. He responded by noting the deep respect he holds for his father and by ticking off several areas in which his libertarian positions coincide with those that voters associated with his father. Political observers, however, have asserted before that perhaps Sen. Paul’s campaign has suffered in whipping up support because he did not fully embrace his father’s purely libertarian campaign.
(Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore, Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0)
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