The Quote: "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." - Benjamin Franklin (via John Nichols).
Another quote: "Rand Paul Got It Right: Trump ‘Would Defy Every Norm That Is America’" - John Nichols (headline for his post in The Nation).
Rand Paul eschewed self aggrandizement and was more into using his time in Tuesday's debate as a teaching moment. Trump, predictably, did not seize the moment as a learning opportunity. Here are snippets from John Nichols' post on the Paul-Trump exchange.
Rand Paul got it right.
Donald Trump doesn’t care.
And that lack of caring means that, for anyone who values the basic liberties that underpin the American experiment, Trump is disqualified as a presidential contender.
Why? Because Trump cannot, in any seriousness, swear an oath of allegiance to the Constitution of the United States.
Paul, the senator from Kentucky whose candidacy has never quite gotten off the ground, used his time on the debate stage to focus on the fundamental threat posed by Trump’s disregard for civil liberties.
Paul opened the debate by declaring, “The question is, How do we keep America safe from terrorism? Trump says we ought to close that Internet thing. The question really is, What does he mean by that? Like they do in North Korea? Like they do in China?”
Noting the penchant of two fellow Republicans (Trump and Rubio) to neglect and dismiss the essential liberties outlined in the Bill of Rights and defined by two centuries of political and legal struggle, Paul explained, “The Constitution says otherwise. I think they’re both wrong. I think we defeat terrorism by showing them that we do not fear them. I think if we ban certain religions, if we censor the Internet, I think that at that point the terrorists will have won. Regime change hasn’t won. Toppling secular dictators in the Middle East has only led to chaos and the rise of radical Islam. I think if we want to defeat terrorism, I think if we truly are sincere about defeating terrorism, we need to quit arming the allies of ISIS. If we want to defeat terrorism, the boots on the ground—the boots on the ground need to be Arab boots on the ground.”
The bottom line from the Kentuckian: “As commander-in-chief, I will do whatever it takes to defend America. But in defending America, we cannot lose what America stands for. Today is the Bill of Rights’ anniversary. I hope we will remember that and cherish that in the fight on terrorism.”
Trump was not pleased. He ripped on Paul, portraying the senator as unrealistically committed to the Constitution.
In the essential exchange of the debate, Paul went to the core question: Is Donald Trump “a serious candidate? The reason I ask this is, if you’re going to close the Internet, realize, America, what that entails. That entails getting rid of the First Amendment, OK? It’s no small feat. If you are going to kill the families of terrorists, realize that there’s something called the Geneva Convention we’re going to have to pull out of. It would defy every norm that is America. So when you ask yourself, whoever you are, that think you’re going to support Donald Trump, think, do you believe in the Constitution? Are you going to change the Constitution?”
All of which leads to a fundamental question for Trump's supporters. If you are conservative, you must believe in the Constitution and its protection. Trump appears willing to trample on the Bill of Rights and the civil liberties guaranteed by our Constitutional system. So if you support Trump, you must believe in his disregard for those liberties. That means you, and other supporters of Trump, are not true conservatives. It also means that you are willing to goose-step along with Trump while he trashes our Democracy.