The Mayor in the Plastic Bubble


In case you missed Ron Paul's showdown with Rudy Giuliani, National Review has posted it here. It's worth watching, not just for Paul's performance but because Giuliani makes a really astonishing comment. After Paul lays out the very familiar argument that the 9/11 attacks were a retaliation for America's interventions in the Middle East, Rudy replies:

That's really an extraordinary statement…that we invited the attack because we were attacking Iraq. I don't think I've ever heard that before, and I've heard some pretty absurd explanations.

The way I see it, there's three possibilities here:

1. Giuliani lives in a bubble so thick it makes the president look well-informed. He really has never heard the blowback theory before, even though it is common currency in policy circles.

2. Giuliani is familiar with the blowback theory, but is distorting Paul's views by suggesting America's air raids on Iraq were supposed to be the only intervention precipitating 9/11. (Along similar lines, you'll note that he effectively attributes to Paul the phrase "invited the attack" even though it was the moderator, not the congressman, who used that term.)

3. Giuliani wasn't being that crafty. He is aware that the bombings were not America's only Middle Eastern intervention of the '90s, and he knows that Paul knows this too. He is familiar with the blowback theory and was just playing dumb for the crowd. Put more succinctly, he's a dishonest demagogue.

You can vote for one of those options or propose another of your own in the comments.