U.S. senator and 2016 presidential candidate Rand Paul appeared on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart Tuesday to discuss the PATRIOT Act, as well as other topics. Last week, Paul stood on the Senate floor for nearly 11 hours to discuss his objection to renewing controversial provisions in the PATRIOT Act, something that has set him apart from many of his Republican colleagues.
During the interview, Stewart pointed out that the Republican Party has portrayed itself as the defenders of freedom and small government, but when it comes to the concept of the surveillance state, many Republicans are willing to jump on board in the name of security.
“You didn’t see the other sign that they have? ‘We don’t like big government… until we like big government,'” Paul quipped.
“There is an inconsistency there, and I think that is what separates some of us who are more from the libertarian wing of the Republican Party — we don’t like big government anywhere.”
Rand Paul is not taking the same route other Republican candidates would take going into a presidential primary season. The fact that he appeared on Jon Stewart’s show might be enough to elicit criticism from some Republicans and Republican consultants who think Stewart is out to brainwash viewers into being Democrats.
On some issues, like NSA spying and the PATRIOT Act, Paul holds on to his claim to the libertarian wing of the Republican Party. However, on issues like immigration and net neutrality, Paul appeals to mainstream Republican ideas and even hardline conservative positions. Of all the candidates currently in the GOP presidential field, however, Paul is the only one brave enough to say the Republican brand sucks and needs to be more inclusive.
Jon Stewart went on to ask him why fellow Republicans like U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham roll their eyes at his stand against renewing the PATRIOT Act and NSA Spying.
“It was mostly because people were unhappy about debating the Bill of Rights when they could have been on Memorial weekend, and I think it should be the opposite,” he responded.
He later said:
“The problem now is we’re in a war that they say is perpetual. They say the battleground is everywhere and that it will go on forever, for thousands of years — so when are we ever getting our freedoms back? But I know young men who’ve lost two legs, you know, lost three limbs, and I asked them what they fought for, and they said they were fighting for the Bill of Rights. I think it is a disservice to their memory for me to say, ‘Oh well, I am going to roll my eyes and the Bill of Rights is out the window because I am not willing to stay here on the weekend to fight for something our Founding Fathers thought was pretty important — important enough to put in the Fourth Amendment.'”
Stewart picked up on the intended shot at Lindsey Graham.