Rand Paul spoke the least of any candidate at last night’s GOP debate, Robby Soave noted. That may have partly been because one of Paul’s pet issues barely had any presence at last night’s debate. Criminal justice reform was barely touched upon last night, only in the context of police abuse and minorities, and the questions were directed to Gov. Scott Walker (who called it a training issue) and Ben Carson (who didn’t like people making it all about race). Paul was left having to press his own credibility in his closing statement, mentioning visiting cities like Baltimore and Ferguson, Missouri, in the wake of controversial police-related incidents
Chalk it up to it being an early debate with some high-profile stories (Iran and abortion) dominating the headlines right now. It is nevertheless disappointing to see how little impact these issues had in the debate given that it’s been a consistent political—and more importantly, bipartisan—focus of discussion.
On a federal level, three criminal reform issues would be great subjects to tackle in the Republican debates:
Federal Sentencing Reform: Paul has the obvious advantage here as a sponsor of the Justice Safety Valve Act, which would abolish federal mandatory minimums for federal crimes. He has won praise from President Barack Obama for his efforts, so it would be interesting if a candidate used that against him, the way Paul attempted to use Gov. Chris Christie’s chummy dealings with the president against him. Asset Forfeiture Reform: If…