In the first Republican presidential debate on Thursday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) got into a heated exchange with Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) over the NSA’s sweeping collection of all Americans’ phone records. While Sen. Paul could have sounded a bit more eloquent, and he certainly should not have talked over Christie, it was still a good moment for him, in fact, it was a great moment for him. It was reminiscent of his father former Rep. Ron Paul’s (R-TX) famous exchange with former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani. During that debate, Ron Paul explained the concept of “blowback” (the idea that our foreign policy has consequences) to Rudy Giuliani.
- Rand Paul’s interaction with Gov. Christie has many parallels to that of the elder Paul and Giuliani.
Ron Paul always advocated a small-government foreign policy, and during the South Carolina Fox News debate in January 2008, he was criticized heavily by Rudy Giuliani who accused Ron of saying we invited the September 11th attacks. Dr. Paul gave an impassioned reply to Giuliani saying we should take the advice of our founders and of the CIA and stop trying to police the world. While the elder Dr. Paul’s position did not resonate with a majority or even a large number of Republican voters at the time, it was a significant moment in the Ron Paul Revolution. It was a galvanizing event which helped solidify a real base around Ron Paul – the base which he eventually led in the 2012 election to get a large slice of GOP convention delegates.
- The Republican establishment has sided with Gov. Christie, but average voters have not.
Rand Paul was the number one trend on Facebook after the debate and all through the next morning. Not Chris Christie or the Christie-Paul exchange, but Rand Paul. And take a look at the likes for their respective Facebook pages:
They both received huge bumps from the exposure of the debate, but then Christie’s new likes plummeted.
- Both Paul and Christie posted videos of the exchange on Facebook with interesting results.
Rand’s post of the exchange with the comment “I’m proud of standing for the Bill of Rights, and I will continue to stand for the Bill of Rights!” has 17,218 likes and 3,689 shares as of 4:00 PM. Christie’s post stating “I will make no apologies for protecting the lives and the safety of the American people. #TellingItLikeItIs #GOPDebate” has garnered a mere 1,640 likes and 291 shares.
Chris Christie may be more in line with Republican policy norms, but not for long; Rand Paul is cultivating a base.