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Most Republican senators choose to speak at a post office opening, a county GOP fish fry, or the local Rotary club pancake breakfast. Meanwhile, the junior senator from Kentucky is hanging out at Howard University, Detroit and now the University of California at Berkeley.
Delivering a rare speech for a Republican at this bastion of liberalism, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul on Wednesday was given multiple standing ovations by the left-wing audience after railing against government surveillance and warning the students: “Your right to privacy is under assault.”
“I am here to tell you that if you own a cell phone, you’re under surveillance,” he told the crowd.
Paul’s address at the Berkeley Forum on the campus of the University of California at Berkeley focused on the National Security Agency’s collection of telephone metadata and the debate over privacy.
Tech titans seek to invent disruptive technologies: revolutionary new products that displace established products and create a completely new paradigm. In this post-Snowden era, Paul’s warnings on government snooping are finding a receptive audience across the right, the middle, and the left. He rightly sees privacy as a disruptive politics that can shake up long-stagnant political alliances:
Paul noted that he was taking his campaign to places that don’t traditionally vote Republican. “Like Berkeley,” he said to cheers.
“Part of it might be the Republican Party (must) … evolve, adapt or die,” he said.
“Remember when Domino’s finally admitted they had bad crust?” he said to laughs. “We need a different type of party.”
…Paul’s Berkeley appearance dramatized his ability to fire up under-30 voters, the same group that helped put Barack Obama in the White House. Paul, however, delivers a far different libertarian message that government – particularly the agencies that scoop up millions of Americans’ phone-call and e-mail metadata – needs to be restrained.
“He’s helping to subvert what people think of when they think of Republicans,” said John Dennis, who is mounting a GOP challenge to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in her San Francisco district. “He’s challenging the administration on the NSA more than anyone else. And his filibuster was so successful, the people on the left were cheering him on.”
For years, many conservatives have pleaded with Republicans to go into hotbeds of liberalism, a la Jack Kemp. As an old “bleeding-heart conservative” myself, I’m thankful for Sen. Paul’s bold, possibly game-changing outreach.What do you think, Ricochetti? Was Paul’s visit worthwhile or a waste of time?