Ahead Of Campaign Announcement, Rand Paul Talks ISIS, Turtlenecks, And Binge-Watching ‘House Of Cards’

Ahead Of Campaign Announcement, Rand Paul Talks ISIS, Turtlenecks, And Binge-Watching ‘House Of Cards’

The Federalist interviews Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on the eve of his presidential campaign announcement

Senator Rand Paul is expected to announce his presidential run on Tuesday, and last night his supporters posted a new video teasing his arrival on the 2016 scene. Promising a “different kind of Republican leader,” included in the video is his apparent campaign slogan: “On April 7, one leader will stand up to defeat the Washington machine and unleash the American dream.” We spoke to him in advance of the announcement about his views on a number of topics.

You’ve talked about your unique view of judicial activism recently. Should the federal government and the courts have a role in fighting against state/local government policies, like professional licensing, that harm entrepreneurship and economic mobility, particularly among the poor? 

I believe we should leave more power in the hands of the states and local governments. More often than not, the longer a federal judge or elected official is in office, the more out of touch they become.  That is why I am a big proponent of term limits for elected officials and federal judges. Like with politicians, as each term passes, judges appear to grow more and more distant from the American people. We are seeing far too many judges make subjective or biased rulings, as opposed to constitutional ones. I believe it is time for us to term-limit out-of-control, unelected federal judges.

Given the rise of ISIS and public support for using ground troops to destroy them, do you think a foreign policy based on economic strength and engagement and limited intervention abroad remains viable?

I believe in Ronald Reagan’s “Peace through Strength.” I believe that we should only intervene when the security of our nation is directly threatened. I support military action against ISIS, but if we are to put our brave young men and women in harm’s way, there must be a vote by Congress and a formal declaration of war. If we are to go to war, we should make it brief, succinct and we must fight to win.

There’s been a lot of debate on the right about using a much larger child tax credit to boost fertility and help parents cope with the costs of raising a child, and this is a big piece of the Lee-Rubio tax plan. Some critics say this amounts to social engineering via the tax code. What’s your view?

I have a tax plan that implements the largest tax cut in American history, and includes personal deductions: $5k for each child and care dependent. Overall tax reform that simplifies and lowers taxes for working Americans is my ultimate goal, and I will continue to advocate for policies that make sense for hard working American families.

What do you think is the single most disastrous decision, foreign or domestic, by a president in your lifetime? Why? 

I cannot name just one single act… It is our President’s complete disregard for our laws and the Constitution. His usurpation of power is the most disastrous aspect of this administration.

This cycle will feature an overabundance of attention for young hires who occasionally say controversial things online. Do you believe this reflects a healthy understanding of “personnel is policy”, or do you think the media is exaggerating the importance of this in the age of Twitter? 

Almost everything young people do these days is recorded online—whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, texts or emails, it is all documented. I think as a nation, we need to acknowledge the fact that people’s views can change, shift and grow. I do not think people should be punished for expressing their opinions, but I do think young people need to use more discretion before posting comments online—especially if they want to work in politics.

Republicans say they think it’s wrong for the federal government to force people to buy health insurance. Why do you think so many of them want the federal government to force people to buy ethanol? 

I support removing regulatory barriers to the use of ethanol and other renewable fuels, which would likely have the effect of growing the use of these environmentally friendly fuels. I do not support the government telling consumers or businesses what type of fuel they must use or sell.

What’s the last TV show you binge-watched, or the one you’re looking forward to binge-watching while you’re crisscrossing the country?

I’ve heard the latest season of House of Cards is pretty good. But usually, I binge on watching the news.

Do you think the black turtleneck, or “tactleneck”, is underappreciated in an era of standardized Brooks Brothers politicians? Where do you get yours? 

I am who I am, black turtleneck and all.

Ben Domenech is the publisher of The Federalist. Sign up for a free trial of his daily newsletter, The Transom.
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