Presidential Campaign

Rand Paul’s civil liberties breakthrough


In a campaign that is shaping up as the battle of the boring, the contest of the consultants and the nastiness of name-calling, let’s give credit to Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) for his leadership on the floor of the U.S. Senate in his battle to protect the privacy of Americans against excessive eavesdropping.

Agree with Paul or not — and I agree with much of what he says when he warns against the dangers of the bulk collection of intelligence — he has injected substance and purpose to the presidential campaign. Good for him. He has been attacked for taking this stand of principle to raise money for his campaign. If donors want to support him because he battles for their privacy against Big Brother, good for them!

{mosads}Paul’s battle for privacy in the latest Patriot Act debate was a breakthrough moment for him. Unlike former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-Fla.), he did not spend a week trying to decide his position on an Iraq War that was initiated more then a decade ago. Unlike Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), he did not spend his time apologizing for insulting Vice President Biden while the nation was mourning the death of his heroic and widely admired son.

Paul received the attention of the nation on a major issue because he earned it by taking a stand on an issue of paramount importance. If every candidate in both parties would find an issue of equal magnitude on which to take an important stand of principle, as Paul did, we would have a better campaign.

I hope Rand Paul continues and escalates this issue, as I suspect he will. It will be hotly discussed in the GOP presidential debates, as it should be, which could well continue his breakthrough moment.

Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), who was then chief deputy majority whip of the House. He holds an LL.M. degree in international financial law from the London School of Economics. Contact him at

Tags 2016 presidential campaign 2016 Republican primary Filibuster Iraq War Jeb Bush Mass surveillance Metadata Patriot Act Rand Paul

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