Sen. Rand Paul’s presidential campaign has ended, like most presidential campaigns, short of the White House. The Republican debate will be poorer without him.
Polls show substantial support for libertarian ideas in the Republican Party. Gallup found that libertarian strength in the GOP had risen from 15% in 2002 to 34% in 2012. In two surveys in 2012 and 2013, David Kirby, then at FreedomWorks, found libertarians were 35% or 41% of the party.
Paul obviously didn’t capture that vote. The senator of Kentucky had trouble triangulating between his own strongly libertarian views and what he thought Republican voters, especially in evangelical Iowa, wanted. The rise of the Islamic State terrorist group and its bloody videos in the summer of 2014 made it more difficult to sell non-interventionist ideas on foreign policy. Donald Trump and Ted Cruzin different ways appealed to the angrier and more conservative-leaning segment of libertarians. And despite a news media perception that libertarians draw heavy support from billionaires, Paul attracted few of the seven-figure donations that flowed to Cruz, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Hillary Clinton.
Republicans didn’t just lose a presidential candidate. They lost a chance to revive the party.
Both in the Senate and in the presidential race, Paul brought new ideas and a fresh perspective to the Republican debate. Most of the GOP candidates are just 50 shades of Reagan-Bush. Neoconservative, social conservative, establishment conservative — they all stayed in a pretty narrow lane on most issues.
Paul brought something new to the table. He said he wanted to “defend the whole Bill of Rights,” not just the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms. He pushed Republicans to question the mass surveillance revealed by Edward Snowden. He joined Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., to reform excessive prison sentences, which led to a bill introduced by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn and others that could well pass the Senate this spring.
On conservative talk shows and in front of all-white audiences, Paul repeatedly spoke like this: “There are many people in our country, particularly minorities, who aren’t being treated fairly. They’re not getting due process. They’re not getting a speedy trial. I think if we showed equal deference and love for the Fifth Amendment and the Sixth Amendment, and the Fourth Amendment, the right to privacy, all of a sudden, there’s a whole new group of people, young kids, college kids, African Americans — who are going to say, ‘You know what? That’s the party I want to belong to.’”
In his first Senate campaign in Kentucky, in 2010, he opposed the USA Patriot Act, saying that “America can successfully protect itself against potential terrorists without sacrificing civil liberties.” He drew cheers on the presidential campaign trail for declaring, “What you do on your cellphone is none of (the government’s) damn business.” He filibustered against the potential use of drone strikes to kill U.S. citizens in America, and again to block extension of the Patriot Act.
In his statement withdrawing from the presidential race, he said, “Big Government threatens Americans from all walks of life,” not just businesses and workers but also “the teenager from a poor family facing jail time for marijuana.” No other candidate in either party spent so much time talking about civil liberties issues.
On foreign policy, while the other candidates tried to top one another with uber-hawkishness — Trump’s “bomb the s—- out of them,” Cruz’s gleam at seeing whether “sand can glow in the dark,” Rubio’s proposal to send U.S. troops into yet another country — Paul cautioned that interventionism hadn’t worked very well in recent decades.
Perhaps unfortunately for his campaign, he blurred his message by denouncing President Obama’s Iran nuclear deal and calling for a declaration of war against ISIL. But as the conservative writer Michael Brendan Dougherty pointed out, the senator eschewed the flat-out non-interventionism of his father for a sort of Fabian realism: “Paul often offers rhetorical hostility instead of sanctions, sanctions instead of conflict, and limited constitutionally authorized conflict instead of open-ended war.”
With Paul gone from the presidential race, so is the voice for realism and prudence in foreign policy. So is a passionate voice on criminal justice reform and overcriminalization.
And that revived Republican Party that Paul talked about, the one that “a whole new group of people, young kids, college kids, African Americans” might “want to belong to”? Well, between Trump’s immigrant-bashing and Cruz’s embrace of anti-gay hysteria, that has gone too, at least for this year.
The good news for libertarian-leaning voters — and for anyone who cares about out-of-control federal spending, the Bill of Rights, mass incarceration, mass surveillance or wars without end — is that Rand Paul is still a U.S. senator and likely to win another term this fall.
The White House’s loss will be the Senate’s gain. And, hopefully, America’s gain, as Paul continues his effort to rally Americans on these issues and to work with senators of both parties to make progress toward smaller government and more liberty.David Boaz is executive vice president of the Cato Institute and author of The Libertarian Mind: A Manifesto for Freedom.
Two decades ago, the Clinton administration proposed restructuring our air traffic control (ATC) system. The idea was to create a self-funded outfit separate from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The problem was that “The FAA has been a big, bungling bureaucracy,” noted the spokesman for the controllers’ union in 1994.
The Canadians are right — it’s time to privatize our air traffic control system.
The Clinton reform stalled, but this year ATC reform is back on the agenda. The FAA needs to be reauthorized by the end of March, and House Transportation Committee chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) has just introduced a major restructuring bill. The bill would move America’s ATC out of the FAA and into a self-funded non-profit organization.
Our ATC system is ripe for reform. The FAA is still a bungling bureaucracy, and it is overbudget and behind schedule on major technology upgrade projects. Experts fear the agency won’t be able to keep up with rising aviation demands.
In response to a critical auditor’s report on the FAA in January, Shuster argued for a major overhaul:
Over two decades of FAA personnel, organizational, and acquisition reforms have failed to slow the agency’s cost growth, improve its productivity, or improve its performance in modernizing the system. The FAA remains a vast government bureaucracy, not a high-tech service provider… we need transformational FAA reform if we are going to have a safe, efficient, 21st century aviation system.
The “transformational” reform that Shuster is pursuing is similar to the successful privatization of Canada’s air traffic control system. In 1996 Canada moved its ATC into the self-funded nonprofit corporation, Nav Canada. Today Nav Canada runs one of the safest systems in the world, and it has won three International Air Transport Association (IATA) Eagle Awards as the world’s best ATC provider.
Nav Canada is a “global leader in delivering top-class performance,” says the IATA. The system is efficient and unsubsidized. Writing for the Brookings Institution, economist Dorothy Robyn says that Nav Canada is handling 50 percent more traffic now than before privatization, but with 30 percent fewer employees.
The Canadian system is also a leader in developing new technologies. According to Nav Canada’s former chairman, the company has “sold and installed our home-grown technology around the world from Australia to Hong Kong to Dubai, and all over the UK and Europe.”
Having a technologically advanced ATC system is crucial for America. Our airspace is getting crowded, and our antiquated ATC is causing delays, wasting fuel, and generating unneeded pollution. Transitioning to new technologies such as GPS would increase safety, while expanding airspace capacity and saving fuel by allowing aircraft to fly more direct routes.
There is opposition to ATC reform, but one positive sign is that the National Air Traffic Controllers Association seems to be on board with major changes. In Senate hearings in 2015, the head of the union, Paul Rinaldi, described some of Canada’s advantages:
… they actually are developing probably the best equipment out there, and they are selling it around the world. And they are doing it in a 30-month to three-year time frame, when we have to look much longer down the road because of our procurement process in this country.
It may seem odd that a labor union is supportive of major government restructuring. But the controllers are concerned that our ATC system is not receiving the steady funding, expert leadership, or advanced technology that is needed. A self-funded system would create more financial stability than the current system, which is buffeted by sometimes chaotic federal budget battles.
If President Obama wants a lasting pro-growth reform to put in place his last year, he should work with Shuster to make ATC restructuring happen. The administration might note that ATC privatization in Canada in 1996 and Britain in 2000 were under left-of-center governments. So this should not be an ideological or partisan issue. It is a question about what works, and we now know that privatization works extremely well.
In a recent Wall Street Journal interview, the head of Nav Canada, John Crichton, said, “This business of ours has evolved long past the time when government should be in it … Governments are not suited to run … dynamic, high-tech, 24-hour businesses.” The Canadians are right — it’s time to privatize our air traffic control system.Chris Edwards is editor of DownsizingGovernment.org at the Cato Institute.
Chicken Little Chuckie Schumer: America’s Disease-Fighting Phony
by Michelle Malkin
Latin America’s Zika virus is the latest undocumented immigrant to hit our shores, but have no fear. Self-appointed Zika Warrior Prince Charles Schumer has declared that he is here to stop it.
The New York Democrat has a “three-point plan” of attack to build a “firewall” that will prevent an outbreak of the mosquito-borne illness from spreading across our mainland. He’s armed with big charts and jabby index fingers, too. Allons!
Five cases of the Zika virus have been identified in the Empire State alone. The CDC says a total of 31 Americans in 11 states and Washington, D.C., have been identified as carriers who brought the miserable disease in from abroad.
The feds’ don’t worry-be-happy health bureaucrats emphasize that these are “isolated” incidents that can be contained by simply avoiding travel to hotspots like Brazil, where the disease has been linked to an explosion of microcephaly among an estimated 4,000 babies.
But on Tuesday, Dallas County, Texas, reported the first case in a resident based here in the continental U.S. who contracted the condition “through sexual contact with someone who had visited a Zika-endemic country,” according to health officials.
When people in Washington tell you not to worry, be alarmed.
I know I’m not the only one who sniggered at the spectacle of the Senate’s leading Gang of Eight immigration expansionists now playing Chicken Little about global communicable diseases.
Newsflash: The sky has already fallen. The barn door can’t — or rather, won’t — be closed by those scrambling in front of the cameras to grab headlines about the latest panic du jour. The fundamental policy dissonance is lost on tin-eared Schumer: While he makes theatrical grand gestures to stop foreign viruses from entering through the front porch, he and his amnesty-promoting pals in both parties have left the side and back entries swinging wide open for illegal immigration.
People from Central and South America, ground zero for Zika and other infectious diseases including tuberculosis, dengue, Chagas, Chikungunya and schistosomiasis, make up nearly 15 percent of the illegal immigrant population in the U.S. They flooded the border in record numbers in 2013 as Schumer and company were pushing mass amnesty on Capitol Hill — and as President Obama was implementing blanket deportation freezes in advance of his executive illegal immigrant waiver policies.
The Democrat-manufactured border surge ushered in a resurgence of tropical diseases across the Southwest. Meanwhile, laborers here illegally and amnestied migrants who have never been screened for disease obtained Obama work permits to hold low-wage jobs in places like Chipotle, which shut down scores of its restaurants over the past three months after two separate E. coli outbreaks.
Now comes news from Texas governor Greg Abbott and Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, that the Obama Department of Homeland Security plans to cut back aerial monitoring of the southern border by 50 percent. The Texas Tribune reports that the cutback coincides with a new surge in illegal crossings of the Rio Grande.
“From October to December of 2015,” the paper reported, “about 10,560 unaccompanied minors entered Texas illegally through the Rio Grande Valley sector of the U.S. Border Patrol. That marks a 115 percent increase over the same time frame in 2014.” With spring just around the corner, those numbers will swell again.
And the illegal immigrant border surge will only be strengthened (and public health risks increased) if Obama gives in to left-wing immigrant groups lobbying the White House to extend “Temporary Protected Status” en masse to upwards of 750,000 Central Americans purportedly fleeing violence in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
TPS is a special amnesty program originally intended as a short-term humanitarian program. As usual, “temporary” means permanent. Example? In 2014, the White House extended TPS status and employment permits for an estimated 90,000 Hondurans and Nicaraguans here illegally “for an additional 18 months, effective Jan. 6, 2015, through July 5, 2016.” Who are these TPS winners? They’ve been here since 1998 — when Hurricane Mitch hit their homeland. That was 18 years ago. Their “temporary” status has been renewed more than a dozen times since the Clinton administration first bestowed it.
One of the biggest champions of the fraud-riddled, illegal immigration-incentivizing TPS program? Chicken Little Chuckie Schumer.
The Beltway posturing of open-borders engineers is enough to make you sick.
**Written by Doug Powers
While many of his former staffers at the Justice Department may have to decide whether to indict Hillary (or, more likely, invent excuses not to), recently departed Attorney General Eric Holder is telling everybody how uniquely qualified she is for the highest office in the land:
The first official pro-Hillary Clinton ad in South Carolina is hitting airwaves this week, and it features former Attorney General Eric Holder making the case that Clinton is the best candidate to carry on President Barack Obama’s legacy.
“If you want to make sure Republicans don’t take us backward, help Hillary move us forward,” Holder says in the 30-second advertisement.
In the ad, Holder specifically mentions Clinton’s push to strengthen gun laws and police accountability. Clinton has accused Sanders of being too weak in standing up to gun manufacturers.
And who better to hold law enforcement accountable than somebody who’s operated above the law for decades with the blessing of the former chief law enforcement officer in the country?
Supreme Court Justice audition tape, take one:
**Written by Doug Powers