February 13, 2013

Best of the State of the Union

There was plenty to criticize in the President’s State of the Union address.  But, instead, we decided to focus on the positive in Obama’s remarks and those of SOTU responders Sens. Marco Rubio and Rand Paul. To that end, here are the excerpts from the three speeches that should give cheer to constitutionalists and all those who believe in limited government and the rule of law.  Whether these words make their way into policy remains to be seen.
On limited government:

Rubio: “[G]overnment’s role is wisely limited by the Constitution. And it can’t play its essential role when it ignores those limits.”

Obama: “It’s not a bigger government we need, but a smarter government that sets priorities ...”

Obama: “The American people don’t expect government to solve every problem.”

Paul: “[W]e absolutely must pass a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution! The amendment must include strict tax and spending limitations.”

On the American ideal:

Obama: “Above all, America must remain a beacon to all who seek freedom during this period of historic change.  I saw the power of hope last year in Rangoon … when thousands of Burmese lined the streets, waving American flags, including a man who said, ‘There is justice and law in the United States.  I want our country to be like that.’”

Paul: “People say America is exceptional. I agree, but it’s not the complexion of our skin or the twists in our DNA that make us unique. America is exceptional because we were founded upon the notion that everyone should be free to pursue life, liberty, and happiness.”

On the Second Amendment:

Paul: “We are the party that adheres to the Constitution. We will not let the liberals tread on the Second Amendment! … We will not let any President use executive orders to impinge on the Second Amendment.”

Rubio: “We must effectively deal with the rise of violence in our country. But unconstitutionally undermining the 2nd Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans is not the way to do it.”

On the War on Terror:

Obama: “I recognize that in our democracy, no one should just take my word that we’re doing things the right way.  So, in the months ahead, I will continue to engage with Congress to ensure … that our targeting, detention, and prosecution of terrorists remains consistent with our laws and system of checks and balances …”

Paul: “We will not tolerate secret lists of American citizens who can be killed without trial.”

On illegal immigration:

Rubio: “We need a responsible, permanent solution to the problem of those who are here illegally. But first, we must follow through on the broken promises of the past to secure our borders and enforce our laws.”

On the separation of powers:

Paul: “Montesquieu wrote that there can be no liberty when the executive branch and the legislative branch are combined. Separation of powers is a bedrock principle of our Constitution. We took the President to court over his unconstitutional recess appointments and won. If necessary, we will take him to court again if he attempts to legislate by executive order.”

On school choice:

Paul: “[We should] allow school choice for everyone, rich or poor, white, brown, or black. Let the taxes you pay for education follow each and every student to the school of your choice. ...  When every child can, like the President’s kids, go to the school of their choice, then will the dreams of our children come true!”

Rubio: “We need to give all parents, especially the parents of children with special needs, the opportunity to send their children to the school of their choice.”

On economic liberty:

Rubio: “Politicians here and throughout the world have long promised that more government can make those dreams [of a better life for our children] come true. But we Americans have always known better. From our earliest days, we embraced economic liberty instead.”

Paul: “Only through lower taxes, less regulation and more freedom will the economy begin to grow again.”

On the Bill of Rights:

Paul: “We will fight to defend the entire Bill of Rights from the right to trial by jury to the right to be free from unlawful searches.”

On term limits:

Paul: “If [Congress] will not listen, if [Congress] will not balance the budget, then we should limit their terms.”