Thursday, March 20, 2014

Rand Paul Does Berkeley

A capacity crowd of more than 350 students were on hand as Rand Paul delivered a speech at the International House on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley, yesterday.

The student crowd was very friendly to Rand and gave him a loud cheer as he entered the Chevron Auditorium and a also cheered a couple of times during his speech, in particular when he said, "What you do on your cell phone is none of their damn business".  There was also a large media presence at the event.

Media at Berkeley for the Rand Paul speech.
Rand kept his speech pretty much to generalities but did make a few shocking points.

With regard to Edward Snowden, Rand said that he was of a "mixed mind," as to whether Edward Snowden is a hero or villain. He said Snowden "shouldn't be hanged or shot" but should face some punishment if he returns to the U.S.

Most shocking Rand said that he was "not against the NSA per se."  He said  he was only against generalized warrants. Despite the thumbs up for the NSA as a government snooping agency, he stated that he was from the "liberty wing" of the Republican Party.

During the Q&A period with students, Rand was asked how he felt about publicly funded institutions like Berkeley. He danced around the issue, but did point out to students that when he made his budget proposal, he did not call for cuts in the student government aid program known as  Pell Grants.

Following the speech Rand held an "availability" with the press.

Rand at the press "availability"

It was a more controlled press event than even presidential press conferences at the White House. A Rand aide announced that he would go in order around the room and give every one a chance to ask questions. He then went around the room and called on mainstream media, including a New York Times reporter and one from the Huffington Post, but pretty much skipped  everyone else, including me (with my very interesting questions). At one point the aide went out of his way to look for the Fortune Magazine reporter, whom he didn't spot right away (Expect a puff piece from Fortune in the not too distant future.). MSM threw mostly softballs at Rand, the only half interesting question was by a local MSM television reporter who asked Rand his view on California separating into six different states. Rand said he had doubts about such a separation but hadn't formed an opinion---translation, his pollsters haven't told him yet as to which way he should lean on the issue.

The reporters covering Rand seemed to be genuinely enthusiastic about him. One reporter told me that Rand doesn't have a lot of charisma but kids still get excited about him. I talked to Alex Pappas of The Daily Caller, who is based in Washington D.C., and flew in yesterday morning just to cover Rand's speech (He was taking the red eye back to D.C.after the speech--not even staying one night.) He met with Rand at a San Francisco cafe before the speech for a one on one interview and Rand gave the him a ride to the speech. Pappas told me that he asked Rand about the different view he has on Ukraine from that of his father.  It will be interesting to see what he writes.

When the availability was over reporters rushed toward Rand to ask him more questions, but security kept all the reporters back, except for one, who was apparently going to travel with Rand. It's all about access. Play your cards right, ask the right questions, don't make waves and that's what Rand Paul availability is all about.


  1. Can you appoint your own dad to VP?

  2. Wouldn't Rand be afraid that Mr. Wenzel would kill him to get Ron?

  3. Bob do another post and tell us what your questions for Rand were going to be. Perhaps someone will get a chance to ask them.

  4. I've got one. By what magic does Mr. Paul think that the Senate Intelligence Subcommittee is immune from regulatory capture by member organizations of the "Intelligence Community"? Has he read Andrew Napolitano's recent article denouncing Diane Feinstein as a despicable hypocrite with respect to the US Constitution and her selective outrage over the CIA? This committee is a select group of political elites within the Congress, who are forbidden to even discuss with their colleagues the details of the organizations they supposedly regulate. How is that even remotely any kind of accountability?

  5. The big question left out of this article: Does the EPJ oppose NSA snooping? Inquiring minds want to know.