Rand Paul Raised Chimpy McHitlerburton Accusations Against Cheney, Now Has Them Distorted By the Right
The Republican infighting continues apace, spurred by David Corn at Mother Jones, who publishes videos of Rand Paul in 2009 discussing his political philosophy of broadening the party’s base, including taking the focus off defense spending and unnecessary wars. Corn focuses on Paul’s most incendiary comments: an implication that Dick Cheney’s former position at Halliburton had something to do with the Iraq war:
There’s a great YouTube of Dick Cheney in 1995 defending [President] Bush No. 1 [and the decision not to invade Baghdad in the first Gulf War], and he goes on for about five minutes. He’s being interviewed, I think, by the American Enterprise Institute, and he says it would be a disaster, it would be vastly expensive, it’d be civil war, we would have no exit strategy. He goes on and on for five minutes. Dick Cheney saying it would be a bad idea. And that’s why the first Bush didn’t go into Baghdad. Dick Cheney then goes to work for Halliburton. Makes hundreds of millions of dollars, their CEO. Next thing you know, he’s back in government and it’s a good idea to go into Iraq.
I have been listening to libertarians for quite some time now, and when I listen to this video of Rand Paul, I have a similar reaction to the reaction I always had when I listen to Ron Paul or most any other libertarian. I find myself nodding my head on most matters, and then cringing when they start discussing criminal justice and foreign policy. In this video, Rand Paul makes sense on almost every topic. Then he comes to the Fourth Amendment, and falsely suggests that the plain view doctrine originated with the Patriot Act and is some bizarre distortion of constitutional principles. And then, he starts talking about the Iraq war and gives the above Maddowesque quote.
Now, Corn bringing this up is a fair rap. There’s probably a lot more like this in Rand Paul’s record. He is Ron Paul’s son, after all.
If you listen to the libertarians enough, as I have, you quickly learn that they are a) virulently anti-war, and b) hate to be inconsistent. These people hate war. Hate it. And I generally agree with them. But they take it to extremes. If you want to play with a libertarian, ask him if he (yes, “he”) agrees with our entering World War II. If he has no political aspirations or public visibility, he’ll say no. If he has either, he might tell you about how World War II did not end the Great Depression (true) or how Roosevelt manipulated us into the war (true, and I’m not talking about Pearl Harbor), but it might be difficult to get him to opine directly.
So libertarians hate war. And the slower among them clearly pick up some of the silly conspiratorial notions popular among the left, like the ChimpyMcHilterburton nonsense you see above.
So: If Rand Paul was soft-headed enough to traffic in such implications — and clearly he was — this type of thing is going to be an issue in the primaries.
But . . .
But there is no need to make it more than it is. And now we turn to the Free Beacon, whose writer Sonny Bunch all of a sudden turns Rand Paul into a 9/11 Truther:
If you’re familiar with 9/11 Truthers, as I am, you’ll realize this all sounds weirdly familiar.
Now look: I’m not saying that Rand Paul is a 9/11 Truther. Not at all. Yes, 9/11 Truthers for some strange reason have gravitated toward the Ron Paul camp, and yes, Rand Paul has made something of a habit of engaging in conspiratorial thinking designed to cast America in the worst possible light. Even so: I’m not saying Rand Paul said, or thinks, that Cheney allowed 9/11 to happen in order to enrich is friends at Halliburton.
But, you know, dog whistles and stuff.
The sincerity of Bunch’s protestations that he is not calling Rand Paul a 9/11 Truther is matched only by the sincerity of a Bill Schmalfeldt when he assures us that he is not fantasizing about the death of his critics. The “oh, no! I would never wish to actually say this!!” tone — complete with wide-eyed faux-innocent exclamation points! — that Bunch thinks is so funny is never more apparent than after he quotes a Paul spokesman calling the Truther accusation ridiculous. After quoting the spokesman, Bunch says:
Hey, I was just asking questions! Here’s one more question: Isn’t it “shameful and disingenous [sic]” to suggest that the vice president of the United States supported the invasion of Iraq to earn his former company billions of dollars?
(The juvenile nature of all this is perhaps best captured by Bunch’s [sic] — in a post that says: “I’m not saying Rand Paul said, or thinks, that Cheney allowed 9/11 to happen in order to enrich is friends at Halliburton.” Yes, he said “is friends.”)
I guess Bunch’s point is that, if Paul is going to raise irresponsible speculation about Cheney — speculation which he appears to believe — we should all raise irresponsible speculation about Paul. Which, Bunch does appear to believe the Truther accusation he is peddling.
I have a better idea, Sonny Bunch. Let’s raise legitimate criticisms when they are warranted, and lay off the irresponsible hyperbole.
Rand Paul owes Dick Cheney an apology, and Sonny Bunch owes Rand Paul an apology — for in raising irresponsible accusations about the actions of Republicans, they are acting like the left. And acting like the left is not the way to act in a Republican primary. In fact, it’s not a good way to act, period.