New Daily Show host Trevor Noah has spoken before of his political “romance” with Senator Rand Paul.
“There are certain issues that I’ve seen, let’s say, from Rand Paul where I go, ‘Yeah, I like that,’ and I think that we can move forward in that regard,” he told the Daily Beast, adding, “He was saying things that were sane at the debates, he really was…he wasn’t gung-ho. He did seem thoughtful” when discussing foreign policy.
Wednesday night, Noah finally got to learn more about Paul as the two sat down for a one-on-one debate over glasses of Kentucky bourbon. “I got all of [the bourbons] for you,” Noah said, “because I didn’t want you to show any favoritism in your state.”
(Noah also pledged to take a shot any time he thought Paul was dodging him “to show how painful it is when politicians do not answer the question.” He was soon complaining that Paul wasn’t giving him enough excuse to drink.)
The conversation started off strong with a pour from Noah’s bourbon bottle labeled “Wars in the Middle East.” Paul argued for a more measured approach for foreign policy than his hawkish primary competitors.
“You’ve heard some of them say they’re gonna make the sand glow,” Paul said, “They’re gonna carpet bomb things. But the questions is, if you bomb civilian centers, and you kill civilians, will there be more terrorists or less terrorists?”
“I’m not saying we don’t defend ourselves,” he continued, “but I’m saying we have to think about what we do before we do it, and we have to think about the ramifications of doing it.”
Paul went on to explain the danger of unintentionally creating a power vacuum in Syria or an armed conflict with Russia in reckless efforts to defeat ISIS. From there, the bourbon debate moved on to topics like over-regulation, SWAT teams, taxes, the drug war, the proper size of government—”I don’t want the government telling you what you can smoke, what you can drink, what you can read”—and much more.
If only the next official GOP debate could be similarly thoughtful and thought-provoking. Watch the full interview in two parts below.