Ron Paul and Rand Paul talk about auditing the Fed, preparing for a true revolution in Congress, their differences on earmarks, and fiscal conservatism vs. social conservatism.
Rand Paul: Do we believe in the individual or do we believe in the state? Thomas Jefferson wrote that government is best that governs least, likewise freedom is best when enjoyed by the most.
Judge Napolitano: He was the Tea Party candidate that the Republican establishment said could not win, but Rand Paul bucked his own party, defied the odds and now the libertarian eye doctor is a senator elect. His father, Dr. Ron Paul, has been reelected to the House from Texas and both of these defenders of limited government and constitutional freedom join us now. Gentlemen — first — welcome to Freedom Watch, together — Congratulations on both of your election victories!
Congressman Paul — To you first, the Republicans will have the majority in the House of Representatives come January; you may very well be the chair of the monetary subcommittee of the House financial services committee. The Republicans will have the subpoena power, will you or will the Republicans use the subpoena power to make Ben Bernanke show up and bring his ledger sheets with him? Will we ever find out through the subpoena power what the Federal Reserve has been up to?
Ron Paul: If it’s necessary we have it and we should use it and I think that is one way of circumventing their stonewalling us. They’ve stonewalled all the entities. They have tried to sue them under the Freedom of Information Act and of course they had a lot of influence last year when we had the bill passed to audit the Fed, to get that taken out in committee, so I think if they don’t come clean — the subpoena power should be used.
Judge Napolitano: Over in the Senate, Senator-elect Paul, the bill to audit the Fed will not likely make its way to you. It will pass in the House as it did last time even with the Democrats controlling the House. It will pass in the Senate and then they’ll try and kill it in committee. Can it survive the byzantine ways of Senate politics?
Rand Paul: Well I think, you know, we had 37 votes for it when it went through last time, the Vitter amendment had 37 people in favor of my father’s “audit the Fed.” So I think we try again, and we try to convince a few more people to do it and also convince them that the watered down “audit the Fed” wasn’t enough.
Judge Napolitano: Congressman Paul, a lot of news members will join the House in January who are strong constitutionalists, open libertarians, people embracing the Tea Party. Will they bring the Republican Party to its Ron Paul roots or will the good-old-boys club co-opt them?
Ron Paul: Well, if you go by history, the old club will co-opt it and have control but I think conditions are different. The Tea Party Movement is very strong; grassroots America has awoken, so I’m hopeful that they will stick to their guns and I think the Republicans in the House will do much better, because they don’t have a Republican president sending down the directions. That’s why we were so weak last time. This time they will be standing up to Obama and they’ll be sending him some bills and if we do get it pass the Senate he’ll have to veto them. So I think the House is going to do much better but to have a true revolution we have a lot more work to do because they may call themselves constitutionalists, as you well know Judge, a lot of people, they don’t lose sleep over how they vote and they have a different interpretation.
They don’t think they disobey the constitution, it’s just that they get their authority from the general welfare clause and the interstate commerce clause. So that’s our problem, it’s an educational problem that we have to overcome along with determination to stick to principle.
Judge Napolitano: Senator Paul, I don’t think anybody argued the constitution better and more effectively than you did this past November and it obviously resonated well with the voters in Kentucky. Where do you stand on this divide amongst Republicans and the Senate already over earmarks? Mitch McConnell, your soon-to-be fellow Senator from Kentucky wants them, Jim Inhofe the Conservative Republican from Oklahoma wants them, Jim DeMint who went out of his way to support you in the primary against establishment Republicans, soon to be your colleague from South Carolina — does not want them. Where do you stand?
Rand Paul: Well, I have to be careful because I still want to eat at the adults table at Thanksgiving and my dad and I have a disagreement on this. But I’ve come down with a position that I think even though it’s not in enormous amount of dollars that go into earmarks, that the symbolism of putting unrelated spending amendments on bills that really don’t go through the committee process is what a lot of people perceive earmarks to be, I think it’s not a good thing and I think the whole idea that Mrs. Smith gives money to my campaign and Mrs. Smith’s grandmother was prominent in my community so I name a museum after her and it gets stuck on on related bills — I think that’s what galling to people. Now there is a constitutional question on whether Congress can direct where money is spent and whether the president should, and I understand my dad’s position on that, but I think the symbolism of how earmarks have been used in the past, I mean there were 6,000 earmarks on a transportation bill a few years ago, whereas when Ronald Reagan was around he vetoed one that had 192 earmarks. So the earmarking process has gotten out of control.
Judge Napolitano: Okay, switching from earmarks, here is Jim DeMint just the other day, I want the two of you to listen to this, he’s basically saying you can’t be a fiscal Conservative without also being a social conservative. We have to tell people how to live, take a listen:
Jim DeMint: You can’t be a fiscal conservative and not be a social conservative, a large part of the expansive government is to make up for a dysfunctional society because our culture is falling apart; the family is falling apart.
Judge Napolitano: Is this going to divide Congressman Paul, the Libertarians in the Congress from those who want to be faithful to the constitution only on fiscal matters but still want the government to tell people how to live their lives?
Ron Paul: Well, I see his statement as incomplete, I think he infers that the government would be involved in social conservatism. But I’m a social conservative, I just don’t want to use force to improve social conditions. So that’s the big difference. If you want to impose social values by law that’s a different story than arguing the case that social conservatism and family life and religious values — these are beneficial but we just don’t want the government to be doing this. So, I like to look at the first amendment. The first amendment is toleration, you tolerate people and freedom of speech, even when they say bad and dumb things and that’s the way it should be in social things. We tolerate people making mistakes with their lives, but that doesn’t diminish our desire and requirement to improve social mores, and that is — Where is the responsibility? I say it’s on the individual, and on the family, and on our churches and our community, certainly not in the government.
Judge Napolitano: Senator elect Paul, we only have about 30 seconds, where are you on this? Should we shrink the government or should we enact more laws and tell people how to live because it’s the way we think people should live, like Senator DeMint has suggested?
Rand Paul: Well I think we need to shrink government and I’m not sure that’s exactly what he was saying but I think we do need to shrink government, the primary problems that face our nation are economic, the Tea Party really is bringing people together on economic issues and isn’t so much about social issues. I am socially conservative, but I see that the Tea Party can bring people together of all walks of life who say “You know what? We can’t continue to run these massive deficits” and it’s primarily economic issues that are driving the Tea Party I think.
Judge Napolitano: Congressman Paul, Senator Paul thanks very much for joining us on Freedom Watch.
Ron Paul: Thank you.
Judge Napolitano: Next…