Advice for Rand Paul
The next Republican Presidential debate is scheduled for Wednesday, September 16, 2015. This is what Rand Paul should say then.
1. The world's policeman.
Only 11% of Americans think that the USA should be the world's policeman according to a Rasmussen poll. In the specific case of Syria, a National Journal poll showed that a majority said that the USA had no obligation to punish governments that use chemical weapons. Republicans were a bit more likely (51%-37%) than Democrats (44%-45%) to say that.
In 2000, George W. Bush opposed Bill Clinton's nation building. He should have taken his own advice.
"I mean, are we going to have some kind of nation-building corps from America? Absolutely not."
"If we don't stop extending our troops all around the world in nation-building missions, then we're going to have a serious problem coming down the road. And I'm going to prevent that."
America is involved in nation building (helping to construct governments) in Iraq and Afghanistan.
An example answer: "We aren't the world's policeman. I opposed the Iran deal because I was concerned that it would allow Iran to get nuclear weapons. But that's all we should worry about. They mistreat their citizens, but so do a lot of other countries. That's not our responsibility. We mustn't let ourselves be the world's policeman. They don't pay us enough!"
2. NSA nude pictures.
NSA agents have been passing around nude pictures of ordinary innocent Americans. Chris Christie claimed that the NSA is subject to oversight. That oversight can't be very effective. If sunlight is the best disinfectant, then we need to open up the NSA to ordinary reporters, like the Congress is. Information, especially restricted information, is power and power tends to corrupt.
John Oliver did an unscientific poll where he asked ordinary people about NSA activities. The only one that got a strong response was the nude pictures.
An example answer: "The NSA has been passing around nude pictures of Americans. Not terrorists, just ordinary Americans. The NSA is out of control. There is no effective oversight. Power tends to corrupt. Heck, these guys spend most of their time on the internet. They should know that on the internet you can get porn for free."
People respond better to moral arguments than to practical ones. Most Americans define fairness in terms of just desserts: what people have earned.
A Pew poll showed that Americans believe by a 2 to 1 majority that hard work usually leads to success. Among conservatives, it's overwhelming.
Another Pew poll reported that 75% said that everyone has it in their own power to succeed, vs. only 19% that disagree.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 52% of Likely U.S. Voters say that economic growth is more important, while 39% say that economic fairness is more important.
An example answer: "We have to remember who created this wealth, who earned it. It wasn't the government. It wasn't society. Some people disagree. We call them socialists. I'm not a socialist."
Birth tourism is the most extreme example of abuse of the immigration system. To make a case for a moderate immigration policy (to rebut Donald Trump) it would be best to state what should be opposed.
An example answer: "People are coming to America on tourist visas to have children. Their children are automatically citizens. We are giving away citizenship to anyone with airfare and a tourist visa. That's not right."
5. Ask audience to do something.
At the end of a debate, the audience is most likely to follow suggestions. Let's not miss that opportunity.
"When this debate is over, please get online and post to blogs, Facebook, Twitter, wherever you have friends. Ask them what they think about us being the world's policeman. Ask them what they think about the NSA passing around nude pictures of ordinary Americans."
6. Crowd source speech writing.
There's a better chance of coming up with great lines if the whole country is working on it. To cope with the flood of suggestions, people could vote for the ones they like best.
In a debate, the main audience isn't in the hall: it's the television audience. They are sitting quietly at home, mostly alone. The best approach is to imagine sitting in a chair, talking one on one with your neighbor. Sarah Palin is a master of this.