Earlier this week, Glenn reported that Senator Rand Paul has been taking some serious heat from his father’s supporters over his endorsement of Mitt Romney for president. Glenn interviewed Rand on radio this morning to get his thoughts on the current backlash, the state of libertarianism, and what is going on in Congress. Read the full transcript below.
GLENN: Rand Paul is a guy who lives the principles and is getting an awful lot of heat, at least this week you were getting heat earlier because of some of the supports of your father, you came out and you supported Mitt Romney and now you’re getting heat from those guys. How is your dad even dealing with this, Rand?
PAUL: Well, you know, the thing about the Internet is the people who are the most unhappy are often the really smallest amount of your supporters. When we look at our supporters overall, my supporters, my dad’s supporters, you know, libertarian conservatives, in general, the vast majority are not, you know, these angry folks, you know, preaching, you know, violence to me and my family because we’ve endorsed Governor Romney. So, I think really sometimes the extremists on the Internet get more credit than really the entire movement and they shouldn’t represent the entire movement.
You know, I try to look for commonalities, areas where we agree and, you know, Governor Romney, I’ve had a meeting with him. We’ve talked extensively about audit the Fed, which is very important not only to me but my father and to his supporters and I think there’s a very good chance we get it in the platform. There has been an announcement in the House that we’re going to get a vote in the House and I’m working with both Republican and Democrat leadership to try to get a vote here, but some of my dad’s supporters don’t realize that if you call people names and call them evil, they’re less likely to allow you to have a vote on something you really want to pass.
GLENN: Hang on just a second. You’re saying that Romney may put audit the Fed into the platform?
PAUL: Well, the Ron Paul supporters are going to be — about 2 or 300 delegates there are going to help him to do that, but he has already said publicly that he’s for audit the Fed. That he has said many times. As far as the specific bill —
GLENN: That’s fantastic.
PAUL: — I would like him to endorse the specific bill but — that my father has introduced that will be voted on, but publicly he’s already stated that he is in support of auditing the Fed.
GLENN: You know, Rand — and I want to talk to you a little bit about drones here in a second, but I know you were a big fan of Broke. I have to send you a new copy of Cowards because there’s a chapter specifically that I would like you to read about libertarian — libertarianism and I would like to have you on just to talk about it and see where you think I might be wrong or might be missing the boat. The chapter is all about that libertarianism, the chair was taken away from the table by the big government progressives in the Republicans and the Democratic party and they are many of the people that are defining what a libertarian is, that you have to be this crazy, you know, We never went to the moon and we should never have a government dollar for absolutely anything kind of people and that’s not – that’s not what libertarianism is.
PAUL: Well, you know, even Ronald Reagan said the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism and many of the people who were in the founding movement in this last century of the conservative limited government movement also embrace the term libertarian. So, libertarian just means believing in limited Constitutional government. There are a lot of people who are libertarians.
GLENN: All right. Let me talk to you about drones because I find this — I find this frightening, not only that the government is doing it but that the American people don’t seem to care.
PAUL: Well, I think it’s incredibly important that we restate what was in, you know, our founding fathers were very concerned about the idea of general warrants, basically that the government could just say they could search anywhere any time without having probable cause or naming who they were going to search. That sort of, if anything, could possibly be general surveillance or general, you know, searching of your privacy would be a drone, because the ability to get information and to do it anywhere, any time is just amazing and it could be used for good but it also can be used for harm and so we need to make sure we have, you know, the Constitutional protections in place and some have said, Well, your bill just restates the Constitution, (inaudible) the Fourth Amendment. Well, I think it needs to be restated because I’m afraid people — you know, I’m afraid Mayor Bloomberg is going to be going over my backyard barbecue, seeing if anybody’s got a Big Gulp or whether or not I’m separating my recyclables correctly. So, we already have a lot of nanny state and all they need is the perfect surveillance equipment to really make it a bad situation.
GLENN: I mean, Rand, there’s a quote from Bloomberg, I have to send this to you. It’s amazing. He was talking about surveillance on New York City and he said — and I — correct me if I’m wrong, Pat, but I think this is almost a direct quote, we can’t have people thinking that they can just go anywhere they want.
PAUL: Well —
PAUL: When you were talking about lemonade stands, I was thinking of Thorough’s essay on civil disobedience and I was thinking, ‘Do you know what? Do you think he could ever contemplate in his lifetime that civil disobedience would someday be putting up illegal lemonade stands by school kids?’
GLENN: I mean, you know what happened yesterday? We had about a thousand people here in Texas at this lemonade stand. We had about 400 of them all around the country and here in Texas, in Texas, we had about 20 Occupy Wall Street people protesting children having a lemonade stand to benefit the homeless. (Laughter.) I mean —
PAUL: Did you — have you heard about the Dollarhite family? They’re from Missouri and the Department of Agriculture fined them $90,000 for selling bunnies with the wrong license. They actually had a license for selling bunnies, but they had the wrong listens. They fined them $90,000 because they fined them for every bunny they had sold and apparently bunnies, you know, reproduce like rabbits and they told them, though, if they didn’t pay on time, it would be $3.1 million if they didn’t pay within 30 days.
GLENN: Did they pay it?
PAUL: They fought it and interestingly, after about a year — and the Department of Agriculture got somewhat embarrassed by this thing, they came back to them and they wanted a consent agreement but do you know what they wanted them to sign after they finally were red in the face and they had discovered that they were embarrassed by this? They wanted them to sign and say they would never be involved with mating and reproducing animals again. These people live on a home in rural Missouri and they want to tell them they can’t reproduce their livestock. And so they wouldn’t sign and this went on and on. I’m sure exactly where it is now. It’s John and Judy Dollarhite from Missouri.
PAUL: And it’s just another example of an out of control government.
GLENN: Why do you think this stuff is happening? Do you know — you know, I was thinking about all this regulation and I thought, Okay, in many places now they are — and this is amaze to go me — they are now saying in Philadelphia that you cannot feed the homeless in places where people have done it – charities and ministries have fed people in the open air for decades if not two centuries in Philadelphia. They’re now saying they have to be in certain places and in — I think it’s in Philadelphia, but also, I believe, in California, they’re reclassifying soup kitchens as restaurants and I wonder, you know, A, are they trying to close our heart? Are they trying to get more power and make people dependent on this or is this just a city, state, or Federal Government that needs those tax dollars, needs all that regulation to be able to generate money for the cities? Which is it or is it both?
PAUL: Well, I think what you said earlier kind of hits the nail on the head. We’ve been asleep at the switch. We haven’t seemed to have cared enough. Particularly the people we’ve elected, the people in Washington don’t care about your privacy, your State rights or individual rights. The difference between the Federal Government and the state government, it’s lost on those people. They care about what a majority can pass and if a major can pass something and they want to appear to do good, they don’t care about the nuance of the Constitution or the nuance of State versus Federal rights. So, they pass these things.
You know, George Will has said it many times, we have abdicated, Congress has abdicated our power to these regulatory agencies and literally the position of a U.S. senator or a U.S. Congressman is diminished such that your average ordinary bureaucrat over in the EPA has more power than I do.
GLENN: Well, how do we get rid of the drones?
PAUL: Well, I think what we’ve done with the drones is we have said you have to have a warrant to use them. Now, I’m not against using them for national defense or for border security or for various other reasons. If you’ve got someone who robbed a liquor store, sending down the street a helicopter, a plane, or a police car is fine with me; but I don’t want them crisscrossing neighborhoods and mapping out our every movement if there’s no probable cause that we’ve committed a crime.
GLENN: Rand, I am glad to have you in the Senate. I am so glad that you are there. I think you’re one of the strong voices. You know, you and Mike Lee and people like that, Jim DeMint are standing and I believe you actually have a spine and one of the good guys who just will keep taking the hammering no matter what and hammer back.
PAUL: I might be seeing you. I think you’ve been invited to a Freedom Fest down in July in Texas and I think they said you’re speaking down there and I think Ted Cruz who’s a friend of mine running for the Senate down there is going to be at that event, also
GLENN: Oh. I didn’t know you were coming. That’s by Freedom Works
PAUL: Yeah, Freedom Works and I think it’s in July sometime.
GLENN: Yeah, yeah, yeah. July 26th. Yeah.
PAUL: Yeah. And I’m going to try to help my friend Ted Cruz get elected to the Senate down there, too.
GLENN: Oh. I don’t think we’ve ever met, have we?
PAUL: Yeah. Maybe in the television studio one time, but I think I’ve never interviewed in person with you. It’s always been on the phone. My staff has told me to keep my distance.
GLENN: I believe that to be true and they’re very wise. Rand, thank you very much and I appreciate it. God bless.
PAUL: All right. Thanks, Glenn.
GLENN: You bet. Bye-bye.