Perry and Paul in Foreign Policy Debate
Tuesday night’s CNN Republican National Security Debate highlighted a wide disparity among Republican candidates and provided several interesting back and forth discussions on the path ahead for U.S. foreign policy and security.
The disagreements between Texas Congressman Ron Paul and basically all of his GOP opponents became apparent with a question about the success of the Patriot Act. After Newt Gingrich called the law an important tool in limiting terrorist attacks, Ron Paul drew a smattering of applause, when he said the act is unpatriotic because it undermines our liberty.
“Today it seems too easy that our government and our congresses are so willing to give up our liberties for our security. I have a personal belief that you never have to give up liberty for security. You can still provide security without sacrificing our Bill of Rights,” Congressman Paul said.
The other Texan in the race, Governor Rick Perry, said he’d keep the act in place – and even strength it where needed – but he provided no specifics on where that might be. Perry did go after at least one element put in place after 9/11…The Transportation Security Administration.
“Well, here’s what I would do with the TSA; I would privatize it as soon as I could and get rid of those unions. It’s working in Denver. They have a program where they’re privatizing it. And the airlines and other private-sector groups work together to do the security in our airports. And it makes abundant good sense,” Perry said.
Both Perry and Paul stood out from the crowd with their agreement that foreign aide to Pakistan should be cut. Governor Perry said aide would zero out if the Pakistani government, or any ally, was not clearly aligned with U.S. foreign policy goals. Paul agreed on cutting aide, but for a different reason.
“I think the aid is all worthless. It doesn’t do any good for most of the people. You take money from poor people in this country and you end up giving it to rich people in poor countries. And they’re used as weapons of war so you accomplish nothing,” Paul said.
The two agreed again on the need to secure the U.S./Mexican border. Congressman Paul said the federal government ignored that border by spending too much time worrying about the one between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Governor Perry said it was critical to secure the border before any meaningful immigration reform can be done. “We know that Hamas and Hezbollah are working in Mexico, as well as Iran, with their ploy to come into the United States. We know that Hugo Chavez and the Iranian government has one of the largest -I think their largest embassy in the world is in Venezuela.”
Both Texans – especially Paul because of his often contrarian views – had plenty of screen time Tuesday night. That’s something they both needed to keep from being overlooked in a continuing crowded field of contenders.