This election season, the GOP witnessed an extreme makeover of their candidates with Tea Party upstarts like Sharron Angle (R-NV), Ken Buck (R-FL), and Christine O’Donnell (R-DE) burying any form of moderation with their radical views. While they were unsuccessful, others among the crew of candidates former Bush advisor Karl Rove’s deemed “insistent, loud, and relatively unsophisticated,” were able to tap dance around extreme and unpopular policy positions and statements in their past to secure electoral victory. No candidate provides better evidence of this strategy than Sen.-elect Rand Paul (R-KY).
During his campaign, Paul swept much of his radical history under the rug to convince Kentucky that he was a palatable choice for the national stage. However, before the spit shine, Paul sat down with prominent 9/11 truther and “aggressive Constitutionalist” Alex Jones of InfoWars to articulate his views regarding “the war for your mind.” Released 14 months after the original taping in 2009, the interview entitled “Thought Crimes USA” sheds further light on Paul’s insights on the inevitable coming of the thought police, a new Hitler, and “martial law” before he was sanitized for national consumption:
—Thought control: Paul warned that “we’re doing what’s called political profiling,” which defined as discriminating against people based on their opinions. “You know people were worried about profiling people for the color of their skin, now we’re profiling people for the color of their thoughts. You know, what are you thinking? Do you believe in something scary like the Constitution. You might be a dangerous person.”
—A new Hitler: Paul casually compared President Obama to Hitler. “I think times of crisis is when we have to worry the most about things. You know, Rahm Emanuel, who’s chief adviser to President Obama, said ‘let no good crisis go past without allowing government to grow, these are our chances for government to grow stronger and for more security at the expense of liberty.’ And it’s happened before. When you have severe crisis, that’s when sometimes strong leaders arise. You had the money destroyed in Germany in 1923 and out of that chaos came Hitler who promised that these awful people were the ones doing this to you and we need to round them up and put them in camps. And the liberties just went out the window. But people actually democratically voted in a Hitler. And I worry about that again in our country.” Later in the interview, he jokingly asked if Obama supporters were wearing “brown shirts,” a reference to the Nazi’s paramilitary units.
—Health reform, martial law, and vaccines: Paul warned that individual mandate in Obama’s health reform legislation could lead to “martial law.” He also delved into a long conspiracy theory about vaccines. “Well I mean, the first sort of thing you see with martial law is mandates, and they’re talking about making it mandatory. Um, I worry because the last flu vaccine we had in the 1970s, more people died from the vaccine than from the swine flu. I think you have to use your brain but I think every individual should be able to make that choice.”
Watch part 2 here:
Paul’s elaborate conspiracy theories mirror many other extreme, unpopular, and downright ridiculous viewpoints he harbored before contorting into an electable candidate. Paul has stated that he wants to abolish the Department of Education so kids don’t have to learn about “two mommies,” that Medicare is socialism, and that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme that should be privatized. Last May, Paul even told a local editorial board — and then again on NPR and MSNBC — that his belief in a “free society” means that whites-only lunch counters are the right of private businesses — a statement he later learned to dodge, but not refute entirely.
But regardless of the actual views of Paul and his fellow freshmen, the GOP establishment is working hard to make sure that they fall into line, appointing old hands and insiders to staff these anti-establishment outsiders.