When the results of the Florida primary came through Tuesday night, the remaining Republican contenders each addressed supporters by insisting that their fight for the party’s nomination was far from over.
But while three of the frontrunners relied on redundant rhetoric in hopes of engaging their audience, only one candidate on Tuesday touched on issues that, although of importance to each and every American, are being ignored by the competition.
Voters in Florida only endorsed Texas Congressman Ron Paul enough to put him in fourth place, but announcing early in the race that he would concentrate his efforts away from the Sunshine State, the lackluster finish did not come as a surprise to the candidate. When the results came in, Congressman Paul was already on the other side of the country, readying for the upcoming Nevada caucus. While his Republican Party rivals spent Tuesday night taking shots at President Obama and repeating the same topics the establishment expects them to, Paul offered an energized speech that relied on defending the US Constitution, cutting spending and repealing a controversial bill that allows for indefinite detention and torture of Americans.
Frontrunners Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich used their own appearances on Tuesday night to tackle the Obama administration for a dwindling jobs market. Romney, who came in first in votes in Florida, attacked Obama over his lack of initiative in changing and making policy, insisting “now it's time to get out of the way." Former House Speaker Gingrich was a bit more volatile with lobbing his critiques, warning that “If Barack Obama gets re-elected, it will be a disaster for the United States of America.” Rick Santorum, who placed third behind Gingrich in Florida, offered opinions not as much about the Obama administration but against the former speaker himself, saying that Gingrich’s past has become an issue that will cost him the nomination.
But while each insisting that they were the clear competition for President Obama, Congressman Ron Paul spoke on Tuesday by addressing that he was the only clear competition to a clueless establishment. Speaking from Nevada, Congressman Ron Paul acknowledged problems from within the White House, but warned that the issues were much different than what Romney and Gingrich had in mind. “There's a mess up in Washington. They've created a mess. They've given us a lousy foreign policy, they've given us a lousy budget and they've given us a lousy recession,” said Paul.
The answer to America’s problems, economic and otherwise, are in the Constitution, says Paul.
“Don't you think it's about time we had a new monetary policy?” the congressman asked to a room of applause. “And would we have to invent something new? All we would have to do is read the Constitution. They tell us exactly what we're supposed to have!” he added.
“And what about a foreign policy? We need a foreign policy, but do we have to invent it? No, all we have to do is read the Constitution."
"We need a strong national defense, we don't need to be the policeman of the world, and very simply we should reject and not get engaged in any more wars that aren't declared properly and supported by the people!” said Paul.
While Romney and Gingrich offered their own take on solving America’s economic problem, Paul once again separated himself from the establishment by saying that more and more of America’s issues could be addressed by just ending its ongoing wars.“I'd like to see the troops spending their money here at home and not going over there,” said the congressman.
Paul also noted that perhaps the biggest war of all right now is the war right here at home.
Although President Obama gave himself the power only one month ago to detain American citizens indefinitely without trial, his only mainstream opposition has come by way of Paul. Other candidates have supported the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 during past debates and otherwise the bill has gone untouched by the media, whether or not it involves the GOP candidates. From Nevada Tuesday night, Paul once more made it a point to address the NDAA.
“The purpose of all governments should be the protection of individual liberty for each and every one of us!” said Paul. “We need to reverse the trend of the attack on our civil liberties, we need to repeal the Patriot Act . . . We need to reverse the trend of the attack on our civil liberties, we need to repeal the Patriot Act . . . We need to repeal the provision that says the president can use the military to arrest any American citizen and deny them a trial!”
When the congressman touched on each one of those infringements of civil liberties, his audience responded with audible jeering. Paul thinks support for America could once again return to this country by enforcing just one thing — and that’s what America’s founders had in mind as well.
“Very simply, the answer is, send only people to Washington, send only people to the White House, send only people who know and understand and read the Constitution, and enforce the Constitution!” said Paul. “Then there would be, then we would have the full understanding, how you have a peaceful, thriving nation as you enforce the concept of liberty.”
“Enforce the liberty for each and every one of us, equally. This brings people together because people will use their liberty in different matters, but we don't have to fight over how they use their liberty as long as they assume responsibility for themselves and the consequences of their actions!”
Congressman Paul insisted, “we don't have to reinvent something.” He told his audience, “We can improve on our past, but we had a great past. We had a great Constitution, we had a great middle class, the richest and the biggest middle class ever, and we've undermined it with excessive spending, excessive taxation, a monetary system that is flawed and a foreign policy that is flawed.”
Fixing all of that, said the congressman, is as simple as following the rules. “All we have to do is return to our roots, and in this short time, we could have our peace and our prosperity, and our reliance on ourselves with our personal liberty,” said Paul.
Both Paul and Santorum spoke Tuesday night from Nevada. It is there that the next major event of the election cycle, the Nevada caucus, will occur on February 4.