Television

The Lydon/Manilow Coalition (Or: Ever Get the Feeling You've Been Greeted?)

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Maybe I should watch The Tonight Show more often. Right after he sang the line "I wanna be anarchy," Johnny Rotten turned toward Jay Leno's offscreen couch, where previous guest Ron Paul was still sitting. The aging punk gave a thumbs-up and shouted, "Hello, Mr. Paul!" Then he rubbed his butt a bit, pranced around like Mick Jagger, sang the line "In the city," and turned back to the congressman. "When are we gonna leave Iraq?" he exclaimed.

At the end of the performance Paul and Leno joined the band on the stage. And then I remembered something. "Anarchy in the UK" had been the Pistols' first single, released at the end of 1976—the same year Paul entered Congress for the first time. As the beaming congressman shook hands with the singer, the last three decades suddenly started to make sense.

Update: Go to Reason.tv's Rough Cut blog for full video. Or just click below.

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  1. This will definitely sadden “friend of Reason” Greg Gutfeld.

  2. Anarcho-capitalism in the U.K.!

  3. Paul needs to quit playing up “the kids love us” and the fact that he’s “principled.” The media just uses it to make him look like a doddering old curmudgeon, saying “oh and isn’t it cute how the kids just adore him.” I remember Jon Stewart ended his interview saying something like “It’s great that you’re so principled.” It’s like he’s the retarded kid that constantly needs to be reminded that it’s the effort that counts.

    All I can say for the Sex Pistols is that at least they didn’t try to fake it.

  4. YouTube link to the video of the interview. No Sex Pistols shoutouts in this one, unfortunately.

  5. Thanks for the link, Jackson.

  6. Am I just overly aggressive then? It sure seemed like a malicious mooning to me. (I didn’t see the thumbs up or hear the “When are we leaving Iraq?” bit, though.)

  7. Just came across a firsthand account of the tonight Show appearance.

  8. Thanks a lot for the link, Jackson. I just checked it out, and I have to say I was fairly impressed. Paul’s definitely a bit…quirky, shall we say, in his mannerisms; but he’s no more off-putting than Gore in that regard, better than Kerry, and a helluva lot better than Bush (looking at the order of that list, maybe I’m not a very good judge of what most people think about these things…).

    Which is not to say that I think he has any real chance of winning the nomination, and that’s a real shame. Not as big a shame as the Red Sox winning the World Series, but close.

  9. A brilliant performance by Dr Paul!! A candidate who appreciates both Austrian economics and our constitution and brings em up on a popular national show is a candidate worth fighting for!

    Jay Leno asked Ron Paul questions germane to his pro-liberty positions that lotsa folks wonder about and Paul just hit home run after home run. Dr Paul revealed to Leno’s audience what a naturally honest, and straightforward guy he is. I’ve never in my life felt better about supporting a political candidate.

    What a nice touch it was for Paul to shake Johnny Rotten’s hand after Rotten asked Cong Paul from the stage when we are going to leave Iraq. If Rotten has a chance to converse with Ron Paul, there’s a good chance that he’ll endorse him. They’re both rebellious and opposed to the coercive left.

  10. As the beaming congressman shook hands with the singer, the last three decades suddenly started to make sense.

    Damn! Exactly, Jesse! And it occurred to me too. BTW, and I’ve known it for some time, it’s no accident that I dig both libertarianism and the Pistols. As Austin Powers said, “It’s freedom baby, yeah!”

  11. I liked his his “I lean toward a flat tax, but I wanna make it real flat like zero” joke.

  12. Syphax:

    Anarcho-capitalism in the U.K.!

    Nice.

  13. Jackson,

    Wow, great work getting the YouTube link and the firsthand account! Can you find a YouTube link for the Pistols’ bit as well?

  14. Damn, I have another 20 minutes of friggin Seinfeld before I can watch Dr. Paul and Johnny Rotten and that guy from Cocktail on Leno’s show. On the other hand, I will be sound asleep when Jesse Walker has to wake up so I guess the tradeoff is all good.

  15. My favorite punk band and my favorite politician on the Tonight Show together? How is that possible? The Sex Pistols were the ones that influenced me to become a libertarian anarchist when I was a kid with their message of “anarchy.” I later converted to near anarchism, or minarchism. Somehow Ron Paul and The Sex Pistols sharing the same stage makes perfect sense. Ron Paul is punk rock.

  16. Crass. Sex Pistols were just fashion models using anarchy to sell records.

  17. As the beaming congressman shook hands with the singer, the last three decades suddenly started to make sense.

    I’m so glad someone else noticed that!

  18. Yeah, the Sex Pistols were more pop than punk.

    But whatever. Someone pinch me. Did a U.S. Presidential candidate just plug Austrian free-market economics and the elimination of the IRS on the Tonight Show, in front of a whooping audience and something like 5 million TV viewers? That just doesn’t happen. Ever.

  19. “More pop than punk.” That makes no sense. Punk IS pop.

  20. I don’t get it. Maybe punk is pop now, but it wasn’t in the early 80’s.

  21. Johnny Rotten for Vp?

  22. Amazing how much mileage the Pistols got from releasing just ONE studio album! Awesome!!

    John
    http://www.gigatribe.com

  23. If it’s popular it is, by definition, pop.

  24. Before the thread veers too far afield, may I be so presumptuous as to quickly mediate this definition-of-“pop” thing?

    You’re both right. You’re just talking past each other. It’s just semantics.

    Yes, “pop” is shorthand for the broader genre “popular music.” Used in the long-view sense, it’s meant to distinguish it from classical and other forms.

    Then, within popular music itself, “pop” has come to identify a particular subset of the genre — slick, polished Top 40 or bubblegum.

    The meaning of “pop” just depends on where you happen to be standing at any given moment. So you’re both right. Which I think you both already know anyway…

  25. What are we supposed to make of Lydon rubbing his butt in Paul’s general direction? That seemed to be purposefully disrespectful.

  26. For whatever it’s worth, Rotten is a Future and Its Enemies fan, and after he read it he had both Virginia Postrel and Nick Gillespie on as guests on his Internet radio show. So he has, or had, or toyed with some libertarian sympathies.

  27. Rotten did give Paul a thumbs-up, but based on his subsequent pointing of his rear end in Paul’s direction and his sneering, defiant look after asking “When are we going to leave Iraq?”, I would say there’s a 50/50 chance Rotten mistakenly thinks Paul is a war supporter and was trying to mock him.

  28. Off topic, but I was in the car listening to CNBC (via Sirius radio) and heard a Ron Paul commercial. Best one yet. Talked about how Paul is the true Republican in the race–against amnesty, less government, balanced budgets and ending nation building. This will play with the business crowd as well as with NH republicans. It was well done. They should play it all over NH.

  29. I think it was pretty obvious Rotten didn’t know who Paul was and was trying to stick it to him with that Iraq reference (repub congressman = iraq war hawk). Rotten seemed geniuinely surprised Paul wanted to shake his hand. Paul probably spoke to him afterwards and set him straight. Maybe Rotten will endorse him now?

    Or maybe he won’t give a shit because he’s Johnny Rotten.

  30. According to Jeff Frazee, Ron Paul’s Youth Co-Ordinator, Johnny Rotten told Ron Paul that it was an honor to meet him. Also, Tom Cruise came by the dressing room to chat for about ten minutes. A woman who has attended every Leno taping for 3 years says that Ron Paul drew a line of people for tickets that has only been matched by George Clooney, Justin Timberlake and Daniel Radcliffe.

    http://thestressblog.com/2007/10/30/dr-ron-paul-on-the-tonight-show-with-jay-leno/

  31. A woman who has attended every Leno taping for 3 years says that Ron Paul drew a line of people for tickets that has only been matched by George Clooney, Justin Timberlake and Daniel Radcliffe.

    Not sure what that benchmark should mean…
    [keed keed – that’s pretty cool stuff for real!]

  32. based on his subsequent pointing of his rear end in Paul’s direction and his sneering, defiant look after asking “When are we going to leave Iraq?”, I would say there’s a 50/50 chance Rotten mistakenly thinks Paul is a war supporter and was trying to mock him.

    Or maybe Rotten is a neolibertarian who supports the war in Iraq and wanted to tweak Paul.

    Or maybe Rotten just likes making funny faces and pointing to his bum.

  33. oh ok. well then i have no idea what i’m talking about. maybe johnny has a bizarre way of showing grattitude…

  34. Or maybe Rotten just likes making funny faces and pointing to his bum.

    I think that much goes without saying…

  35. In the green room Johnny Rotten used the term, “President Paul” according to

  36. sorry…for some reason the link wouldn’t post.

    Lew Rockwell

  37. I don’t see how any butt-rubbing could be respectful or reverential in any way. It seemed like a very disrespectful, “you’re a Republican, you support the war” gesture. I want definitive proof that Johnny Rotten was pro-Paul before hand before I believe it was a butt-rub of solidarity.

  38. Whoops. I guess Max just gave me that proof.

    Rub away, friends of liberty!

  39. It’s amazing to me to think that this man could have delivered me. If only his office staff hadn’t bumbled my mom’s first visit… *sigh*

    That would have been nifty, to say, “I voted for the guy who brought me into the world!”

    Ah, well. I’ll vote for him anyway and maybe I can convince him to take a break from Presidenting to deliver my next child.

  40. That’s a cool story, Bronwyn. Sometimes the best moments are those that almost happened?

  41. A Yalie,
    Johnny Rotten has attended numerous LP events, so its pretty likely he knows plenty about Ron Paul.

  42. “I don’t see how any butt-rubbing could be respectful or reverential in any way.”

    Maybe it had nothing to do with Paul at all? Then a moment later he had a new impulse, unrelated to the butt-rubbing, to ask about Iraq?

    I mean, he *was* performing a song after all, on stage, for an audience. That usually involves a certain quantity of ‘antics’ for the audience, whether Ron Paul is there or not.

  43. “What are we supposed to make of Lydon rubbing his butt in Paul’s general direction? That seemed to be purposefully disrespectful.”

    I haven’t seen it, but from the description it appears that Rotten turned away from the mic (and audience) to face Paul, then turned back to the mic and the audience, which were his main concerns. And thence commenced the butt-rubbing. The direction of his butt-aim would then be only incidental to Paul’s existence.

    Given the need to face the audience, there aren’t that many “general directions” available, I shouldn’t think.

    And I can’t imagine Johnny Rotten stopping the butt-rub with the thought that “Oh dear, mustn’t rub my butt, it’s pointed at Congressman Paul!”

  44. “Ron Paul needs to stop infecting me with his horrible, horrible optimism.”-Warty

  45. I told you the Sex Pistols were dead.

  46. Thoughts from a centrist:

    Ron Paul has improved his presentation.
    He has managed to boil down his message into some meaningless sound bites. This will improve his chances of success among a large section of the voters.

    He, however, couldn’t even answer Jay Leno’s (hardly a tough interviewer) questions about complications with/implementation of his ideas with any substance. A larger number of voters will notice this.

    He appears to have no plan at all about how to implement the broad reforms he advocates. In the general election, were he to be the R candidate, he would get trounced without a more coherent plan for how to implement his vision.

    Hillary would eat him for lunch in a debate.

  47. I don’t see how any butt-rubbing could be respectful or reverential in any way.

    Happens at my house all the time.

  48. Also worth noting: “Tom Cruise came by the dressing room and talked for about 10 minutes about legislation and came across very supportive.”

    http://www.freemarketnews.com/WorldNews.asp?nid=50900&fb=1

  49. Neu Mejican you are correct however a lot of this is because Paul needs to win the war of ideas within the republican party (and perhaps outside) before he can focus on the practical issues at hand. The Republican Party is a mess right now, whereas HIllary can basically say whatever she wants within a very very very very broad Democratic framework and win the primary.

  50. Neu Mejican,
    Paul would eat Hillary for lunch on the Iraq War and civil liberties like the PATRIOT Act, both of which she voted for. With the war being the most important issue to most people, and with most Americans favoring near-term withdrawal, Hillary’s statement that she can’t say she’d bring the troops home before 2013 will not resonate well, especially if her opponent has been against the war all along.

  51. Tom Cruise came by the dressing room and talked for about 10 minutes about legislation and came across very supportive.

    Am I alone in not seeing this as positive?

  52. I think you’re right, JJ.

    Six Near-Miss Degrees of Kevin Bacon, perhaps?

  53. re: Paul’s age. I’ve read reason challenge Senator McCain on being 72, so is Paul too old too?

    He seems pretty vigorous but he would be 80 at the end of a 2nd term.

    just saying.

  54. Kyle,

    Paul should be able to make points against Hillary on the war, true. I am not sure he has the skill to do so, but that is an empirical question. I will note, however, that the Democratic candidates that are in the boat with Paul, have not managed to get much traction on the issue. Paul stands out on the Republican side, but would be one among the pack on the Democratic side. By the general election, he would have a tough time making new points that she hadn’t already responded to many many many times.

    Once we move beyond that issue, Paul is toast.

  55. Bronwyn | October 31, 2007, 11:24am | #

    It’s amazing to me to think that this man could have delivered me. If only his office staff hadn’t bumbled my mom’s first visit… *sigh*

    Might you be a fellow Texan, Bronwyn?

  56. tickets that has only been matched by George Clooney, Justin Timberlake and Daniel Radcliffe.

    So you’re saying that Ron Paul is the Justin Timberlake of politics?

  57. You know what’s sad? I think that if Ron Paul was given the Republican nom he would trounce Hillary. But getting it will be exceptionally difficult.

  58. @JasonC — re: your comment “What are we supposed to make of Lydon rubbing his butt in Paul’s general direction? That seemed to be purposefully disrespectful.”

    You just don’t get punk rock, do you? Being disrespectful to anyone and everyone is essentially THE overarching punk rock aesthetic. Jeez, people have only been listening to this stuff for over thirty years or so.

    And, I mean, he’s JOHNNY ROTTEN. It would have been insulting if he had NOT been “disrespectful”[*]. That’s expected. It’s what he DOES.

    [*] As much as a man of his advanced years can manage these days, anyway.

  59. hmm I don’t think Johnny Rotten understands that Ron Paul wants the US to get out of Iraq.

  60. I think that if anything short of a pile of monkey shit was given the Republican nom he would trounce Hillary.

    Fixed

  61. I think that if anything short of a pile of monkey shit was given the Republican nom he would trounce Hillary.

    Agreed. That said, Hillary’s our next president.

  62. Craig Ferguson’s show just got finished, and Johnny Rotten was on. If anyone was still skeptical, Rotten defintely likes Ron Paul.

  63. Neu Mejican:

    He, however, couldn’t even answer Jay Leno’s (hardly a tough interviewer) questions about complications with/implementation of his ideas with any substance.

    That wasn’t my perception, but I’m a supporter. I make it that a majority of the reviews to be quite favorable. But still, I forwarded your comments to the Paul campaign for any insight and inspiration that they might provide.

    He appears to have no plan at all about how to implement the broad reforms he advocates. In the general election, were he to be the R candidate, he would get trounced without a more coherent plan for how to implement his vision.

    Ron Paul has made very detailed presentations of his plans.

    Hillary would eat him for lunch in a debate.

    If you had witnessed any of his many discourses with Alan Greenspan in the House Fed Head hearings, there’s no way that you would believe that. Ron Paul is ultra smart and he thinks fast.

    Once we move beyond that (the war) issue, Paul is toast.

    I don’t think so. Government spending, taxation, and civil liberties, are issues that a sizable portion of the electorate responds to.

  64. Rick B,

    Ron Paul has made very detailed presentations of his plans.

    He, however, did not in the appearance I was discussing provide even a sense of that plan.

    If you had witnessed any of his many discourses with Alan Greenspan in the House Fed Head hearings, there’s no way that you would believe that. Ron Paul is ultra smart and he thinks fast.

    I have no doubt that Ron Paul is intelligent. I am not sure I buy Ultra Smart. Maybe, but his analysis of many issues makes me doubt that. That point, however, is neither here nor there. Ronald Reagan would never be accused of being Ultra Smart, but he did quite well in presidential debates. I think Hillary, who is also quite intelligent (but also not Ultra Smart) is just enough better at the game to exploit Paul’s weaknesses.

    Government spending, taxation, and civil liberties, are issues that a sizable portion of the electorate responds to.

    Sure, but he doesn’t, really, have a stronger position on civil liberties, and on spending and taxation he goes off into fantasy land.

    I mean the “0%” flat tax is cute, but come on…

  65. A preemptive reply to the

    “not stronger on civil liberties” thing above.

    I find Paul’s disingenuous position on abortion a major issue. Yes I recognize the federalist framing of the issue, but that is just a rationalization at its core.

    Full Disclosure: I do NOT support Hillary Clinton. It would take a Rudy G or similarly bad opponent to get me to vote for her. I am also not convinced she will be the Democratic candidate (although she is certainly in a strong position).

  66. Just took a quick look at Ron Paul’s website.

    I will amplify my critique.

    Even on his website he has no plan for how he will implement any of the broad reforms he advocates.

    Saying “lower taxes, reduced spending, the constitution” does not constitute a plan.

    If he “has made very detailed presentations of his plans,” he would be smart to include said presentation on his website so that voters can become informed about it.

    His little essays are cute and all, but not really a plan.

  67. Neu Mejican :

    Sure, but he doesn’t, really, have a stronger position on civil liberties.

    His positions are certainly more libertarian than all the top tier Dem candidates-Patriot Act-Fisa courts-Broad based Internet “data sifting” etc.

    …spending and taxation he goes off into fantasy land.

    He has the voting record to back up his proposed spending cuts/department eliminations. Only 2 of the 435 House reps have voted to spend less money than Paul:

    http://www.ntu.org/main/page.php?PageID=117

    I mean the “0%” flat tax is cute, but come on…

    There’s more than enough spending that should be eliminated to offset the elimination of the income tax. And Paul is even willing to offset part of it with alternate taxes.

  68. Neu Mejican:

    If he “has made very detailed presentations of his plans,” he would be smart to include said presentation on his website so that voters can become informed about it.

    He has made detailed presentations of his plans, and I agree that they should be on the site. So you want to recommend it to the Paul campaign or should I?… Ok, I will.

  69. Rick,

    Just thought I would point out that

    certainly more libertarian

    Does not necessarily equal “stronger” to people who do not see the world through a libertarian lens.

  70. Neu Mejican,

    Yeah, when it comes to civil liberties…ok, all liberties, I definitely consider “more libertarian” to be stronger. And in the real world, I think the evidence is clear that our rights of political dissent will be much safer with Paul as president rather than Clinton.

  71. Rick B.,

    I think the evidence is clear that our rights of political dissent will be much safer with Paul as president rather than Clinton.

    I find this less clear than you.
    What is the evidence that Clinton will restrict your rights of political dissent? I have a problem with her stance on the 2nd (but if she gives Richardson a VP nod, as I think likely, that will certainly be a moderator in her admin), but don’t see her trampling the rights to speech or assmebly etc…

    There is, of course, PATRIOT ACT, on which she has a mixed record.

    *Voted YES on reauthorizing the PATRIOT Act. (Mar 2006)
    *Voted NO on extending the PATRIOT Act’s wiretap provision. (Dec 2005)

  72. I found it quite appropriate that the Sex Pistols sang “Anarchy U.K.” after the Ron Paul interview (shhh! don’t tell anyone that libertarians like Dr. Paul are borderline anarchists!)

  73. lol…You guys are giving this butt-rubbing thing way too much thought. Have any of you ever hung out with actual punks before?

    A quick search will turn up what Rotten thought/thinks of Paul. He called him President Paul backstage before the show, shouted him out during the set, shook his hand afterwards, said the next night on another show referring to Paul that “maybe there’s hope for america yet,” and is fairly well-aligned with libertarianism himself.

    In terms of whether the Sex Pistols were/are punk…who gives a crap? Yes, they definitely were genuine punk. Just because you can point out someone who was “more hardcore…blahblahblah…more real punk” than another doesnt really mean anything.

    GG Allin was more hardcore and walk-the-walk than any of them ever had the balls (or lack of sanity) to be. So all other punks arent really punk then?

    Quit over-dissecting it and enjoy the show. I did.

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