Chris Wallace

Rand Paul: Locking People Up for Non-Violent Crimes is a “Mistake”

Rand Paul on

There has been movement from conservatives over the last few years to reform criminal justice laws at the state-level. Thanks to the Right on Crime initiative, many states have pursued these changes as a cost-saving measure.

For example, criminal justice reforms that focus on rehabiliation rather than imprisonment saved taxpayers some $2 billion in prison expansion costs. Additionally, these reforms reduced recidivism rates.

The shift away from “tough on crime” laws gained more traction at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) as Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who is running for governor, urged conservatives to “lead the campaign to chang[e] the culture of corrections in America.”

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who also addressed this issue during his speech at CPAC, spoke more in-depth on the issue during an appearance over the weekend on Fox News Sunday.

When asked by Chris Wallace why he is “more lenient on drug laws,” Paul explained that he isn’t interested in legalization, but rather to stop putting people in jail for long periods of time.

“There are people in jail for 37, 50, 45 years for nonviolent crimes. And that’s a huge mistake,” Paul told Wallace. “Our prisons are full of nonviolent criminals.”

Paul was clear in his personal opposition to the use of marijuana, which he said “takes away your incentive to work and show up and do the things that you should be doing.” But he explained that he didn’t want people to go to jail for making that mistake.

Bill Kristol’s State of Denial about the Conservative Movement

Bill Kristol

During an appearance yesterday on Fox News Sunday, Bill Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard and a prominent neo-conservative, knocked Sen. Rand Paul, who led a 13-hour filibuster over the nomination of John Brennan to the CIA.

Kristol, who endorsed raising taxes on higher-income earners during the “fiscal cliff” because of defense spending cuts, told Chris Wallace that the reason the Republican Party has been so successful is “because it has been the party of strong national security.”

“[Y]ou can say they are moss-covered, but some of us are proud to have come to Washington to work in a very minor role for Ronald Reagan, and some of us are proud to have supported the Bush administration after 9/11, and fighting our enemies,” Kristol continued. “And the problem with the Obama administration is not that it is too assertive in the war on terror. The problem with the Obama administration is that we are retreating all around the world, and unfortunately, emboldening our enemies.”

After the filibuster, Kristol aligned himself with Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham, calling Sen. Paul the “spokesman for the Code Pink faction of the Republican party,” a reference to the anti-war group’s praise of the filibuster.

Kristol further added, “So if Rand Paul wants to run to the left of the Obama administration, he’s free to try that in the Republican primary, and maybe there is more support for that than I think, but I’m pretty doubtful that there really is.”

Rand Paul asks important questions about Obama’s drones on “Fox News Sunday”

Rand Paul on

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has been spending a lot of time recently working to bring transparency to President Barack Obama’s drones program.

A recently released memo from the Department of Justice laid out a tenuous legal justification for drone strikes on American citizens. While the Obama Administration has promised to explain the “mechanisms” by which they choose their targets, there are still many questions to be answered, including the constitutional issues that come with ignoring the right to due process.

Sen. Paul has said that the nomination of John Brennan to lead the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is more important than Chuck Hagel’s nomination, which Republicans successfully — though only temporarily — stalled last week. He has asked some hard, pointed questions of John Brennan about President Obama’s drones program, including whether or not the White House would carry out drone strikes on American citizens on American soil. But no real answers have been given, and the lack of transparency with this program and the role the CIA will play has prompted Sen. Paul to call Brennan’s nomination the “preeminent libertarian concern.”

Sen. Paul responded to criticism that he has faced from neoconservatives about this issue during an interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday.

Rand Paul: The country is ready for the libertarian Republican narrative

Rand Paul

Given the recent buzz surrounding him after a great foreign policy speech at the Heritage Foundation and giving the Tea Party response to the State of the Union, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) was directly asked about presidential bid in 2016 during an appearance on Fox News Sunday.

“How serious are about running for president — and would it be to make a point as your father did during his presidential runs or would it be to win?” Chris Wallace asked Sen. Paul.

“I would absolutely not run unless it were to win,” Sen. Paul replied. “Points have been made, and we we will continue to make points. But I think the country is really ready for the narrative coming — the libertarian Republican narrative.”

Sen. Paul also noted some of the problems facing the GOP, noting that they’re no longer a national party. “I think people want a party that’s a little less aggressive on foreign policy — still believe in a strong national defense, but less aggressive,” Sen. Paul explained. “The young people want politicians who don’t want to put them in jail for 20 years for a non-violent drug possession charge.”

Sen. Paul says Americans want a “different face,” noting also the issue of immigration. On that hot issue, Sen. Paul said, “They don’t want somebody who wants to round them up, put them in camps and send them back to Mexico.”

While Wallace noted that his guest sounded like a candidate, Sen. Paul said that he wouldn’t make a decision until 2014.

You can watch this particular part of Sen. Paul’s appearance on Fox News Sunday in the video below:

Some pundits already dismissing a possible Ron Paul win in Iowa

With Gingrich falling in the polls, the very real prospect of Ron Paul winning the Iowa caucus has some, including Chris Wallace of Fox News, saying that it will cheapen its significance. None of that is to say he will win, but it’s clear that there is an element in Republican politics that is going to downplay Paul’s impact in the race.

Over at The Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf explains that downplaying Paul and his views — as so many, including the National Review, are trying to do — is a mistake:

Dismissing the burgeoning number of Americans on the right who are suspicious of interventionism and hawkishness is intellectually suspect and unwise. A majority of Republicans now think that the Iraq War was a mistake. The general non-interventionist impulse on the right has never completely gone away. Paul is by no means the ideal vehicle for non-interventionism. But insofar as he plays a significant role in the GOP primary, it will be partly due to the fact that the legitimate concerns he articulates are taken up by no other viable candidate. One needn’t be an ardent Paul supporter to suspect that National Review would rather that no viable GOP candidate spoke up to challenge the hawkish impulses on the elite right .

VIDEO: Ron Paul on “Fox News Sunday”

Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) appeared yesterday on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace to discuss everything from FEMA and bureaucracy to Libya and foreign policy:

Rand Paul, Jack Conway to debate on Fox News Sunday

Via The Daily Caller comes news that Rand Paul and Jack Conway will meet for a debate on Sunday, October 3rd, on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace:

Senate candidates Republican  Rand Paul and Democrat Jack Conway of Kentucky have committed to a fourth political debate, this one on Fox News in early October.

The candidates had already agreed to three debates to be held in Kentucky, and others remain a possibility.

The campaigns have discussed facing off on NBC’s “Meet The Press” but haven’t yet committed to that.

The Conway campaign had been pushing for the joint appearance on “Meet The Press,” but Paul is balking.

We’ll have video of this after it airs. We may also live-blog it as well.

Olson talks Prop. 8 on “Fox News Sunday”

Yesterday, Ted Olson spoke to Chris Wallace, host of Fox News Sunday, about last week’s decision in U.S. District Court on California’s Proposition 8:

Former Bush administration solicitor general Ted Olson, a part of the legal team who fought to overturn California’s gay marriage ban, said Sunday the decision by a federal judge ruling Prop. 8 unconstitutional was not an example of judicial activism.

“That’s why we have judges and that’s why we have an independent judiciary,” Olson said on “Fox News Sunday.”

“It is not judicial activism, it is judicial responsibility in its most classic sense,” he said.
Pressed on whether a single judge can overrule the will of some seven million California voters, Olson called it the proper role of the federal judiciary to “make sure that when we vote for something we’re not denying minorities their constitutional rights.”

Without separation of powers and the Bill of Rights, Olson said citizens in California or any other state would be empowered to “take away my rights or your rights.”

Olson continued: “We do not put the Bill of Rights to a vote.” He noted that 41 states outlawed interracial marriage at one time. Had that been allowed to stand, “the president’s parents could not have been married,” he said.

Here is the video of Olson’s appearance:

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