Walter Block, a libertarian professor at Loyola University in New Orleans, then delivered a 25-minute talk about abortion. He suggested a compromise whereby women are allowed to “evict” unwanted fetuses but not kill them. Audience members appeared to grow impatient during his speech.
Rand Paul strode to the podium amidst chants of “Paul ’16.” There was little evidence of lingering anger from his endorsement of Mitt Romney. “Republicans have to acknowledge that not every dollar is sacred that’s spent on the military,” he said.
The younger Paul called for auditing both the Pentagon and the Federal Reserve. He also walked a tightrope on foreign policy, associating himself with his father’s views that overseas military actions can serve as motivation for terrorists but making clear that this doesn’t justify attacks like 9/11.
Ron Paul threw all such caution to the wind. Mocking those who said he would have allowed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden to live, he argued that if his foreign policy had been in effect, all of the 9/11 victims and troops killed in the last decade of American wars would have survived.
Like John Popper singing Blues Traveler tunes earlier during the rally, Paul performed all his greatest hits: he talked about the military-industrial complex, the Constitution, the right to drink raw milk and make ropes out of hemp, ending the Fed, bringing the troops home and slashing federal spending. Paul zinged the “group of neocons” who advocated the Iraq war.
“Get the government out of our lives and off our backs and out of our wallets,” Paul said, his voice straining. By the time he finished, even many of his youthful backers were tired and in their seats.
They rose again as Paul left the stage. Whether this was a final curtain call or an opening act for the movement his Republican campaigns inspired remains to be seen.
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