Rand Paul does Berkeley
It’s a catchy line: “The same guy gets standing ovations at CPAC and Berkeley.” Drudge, The San Francisco Chronicle, and many other people are impressed by the reception Rand Paul got last night at The Berkeley Forum, a lecture series held at the University of California, Berkeley. Attacking the US intelligence community’s domestic spying, Senator Paul received an enthusiastic response.
Carla Marinucci, the Chronicle’s political reporter, writes:
Cheered by a youthful audience in one of the country's most liberal enclaves, Sen. Rand Paul - one of the Republican Party's leading contenders for the White House in 2016 - delivered a scathing rebuke to the U.S. intelligence community Wednesday, calling it "drunk with power."
"I don't know about you, but I'm worried," the Kentucky senator told 400 people who filled a hall at UC Berkeley's International House. "If the CIA is spying on Congress, who exactly can or will stop them?"
Paul's comments come one week after Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., took to the Senate floor to accuse the CIA of illegal computer searches intended to hinder her Intelligence Committee's probe of alleged U.S. torture of terrorism suspects.
Paul said Feinstein's allegations had shaken Washington. "I look into the eyes of senators and I think I see real fear," he said. "I think I perceive fear of an intelligence community drunk with power, unrepentant and uninclined to relinquish power."
Unquestionably, Sen. Paul has broad appeal with his attacks on spying, especially among young people.
"He's helping to subvert what people think of when they think of Republicans," said John Dennis, who is mounting a GOP challenge to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in her San Francisco district. "He's challenging the administration on the NSA more than anyone else. And his filibuster was so successful, the people on the left were cheering him on."
People who think the GOP has a brand problem may be drawn to him:
Paul noted that he was taking his campaign to places that don't traditionally vote Republican. "Like Berkeley," he said to cheers.
"Part of it might be the Republican Party (must) ... evolve, adapt or die," he said.
"Remember when Domino's finally admitted they had bad crust?" he said to laughs. "We need a different type of party."
We’ll see where this leads. Marinucci and Robert Reich, whom she quotes, are certain Rand Paul has no chance of winning California should he obtain the GOP presidential nomination. I find him refreshing, and a contrast with the likely candidacy of Hillary Clinton.