Rand Paul

Rand Paul Reads History, Likes Bands That Were Big When He Was a Teenager, Must Be Some Crazy Blame-America-Firster

The hawks go nuts.


What ELSE is out there?

Jennifer Rubin, whose blog at The Washington Post serves as a sort of dumping ground for undigested neoconservative talking points, claimed on Sunday that Rand Paul "blamed the U.S. for WWII." In 2012, you see, Paul suggested that the punitive measures imposed on Germany after World War I helped fuel the resentments Hitler exploited in his rise to power. (The senator specifically cited the Allies' Naval blockade, which extended past the armistice into the middle of 1919.) Paul further offended Rubin by raising the possibility that the embargoes imposed on Japan before World War II played a role in the run-up to Pearl Harbor. Rubin quotes a couple of her acquaintances who think these are very bad things to say (including "a foreign policy expert at a center-left think tank," who apparently needed anonymity to tell us that Paul represents the "unreconstructed Taft-Lindbergh-Buchanan wing of [the] party") before citing Jeane Kirkpatrick's old line, "But then, somehow, they always blame America first." She caps off her post with the boldfaced, italicized question, What else is out there?

Needless to say, Paul's comments are well within the boundaries of mainstream historical debate, and none of them add up to blaming Washington for the Second World War. (One of the policies he criticized—the blockade of Germany—wasn't even really an American project.) Given that his statements came in the context of defending his vote for sanctions on Iran, I'd say the overall thrust of his remarks was, if anything, too hawkish rather than too dovish. There's no need for me to belabor this; Rubin's post is interesting not as a serious critique but as a bellwether. The rise of a relatively anti-interventionist camp in the Republican Party is driving the hawks crazy.

In that spirit, let's move on to that closing question: What else is out there? Believe it or not, March's most ludicrous attack on Rand Paul from the right was not Rubin's post this past weekend. It was this bit from Powerline's John Hinderaker, reacting with alarm to the fact that Paul's speech at CPAC included a line from a Pink Floyd song:

Actually, senator, they wish you weren't here.

To me, it seems extremely odd that Rand Paul would single out a Roger Waters lyric from the 1970s in a speech that otherwise quoted classic American heroes. Was Paul's admiring reference to Waters intended as a proverbial dog whistle to let listeners know that he hasn't diverged too far from his father's foreign policy views? Or was his decision to highlight Waters simply a random (albeit odd) choice made by a politician who is unaware that Waters, in recent years, has come to stand for an obsessive hatred of Israel?

Yeah: Why else would a man born in 1963 quote a Pink Floyd lyric, if not as an anti-Zionist dog-whistle? Get on this, Rubin!

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  1. Waters hates Israel?

    First Ive heard of it. Its probably well known to people who give about things singers think, but that is a long way from “has come to stand for”.

    1. that is a long way from “has come to stand for”

      That’s what’s so crazy. The really hard-core pro-Israel people know about Waters. It’s possible that the really hard-core anti-Israel people do too, though virtually everything I’ve seen on the subject has come from the pro side. But I doubt most people have any idea. In the popular imagination, Pink Floyd “stands for” some popular rock songs of the ’70s.

      1. Not only that, but when you say “Pink Floyd”, I think David Gilmour first.

        I might think of Nick Mason before I get around to Roger Waters.

    2. He’s signed on to the BDS movement. His is the fashionable sort of leftist anti-Israel stance that imagines that the Palestinians have never done anything wrong ever and the Israelis have always been the aggressors. The tinge of Antisemitism hovers around it like flies on garbage, occasionally alighting, but it really depends on where the observer stands on the issue.

      1. And when you lose control
        You’ll reap the harvest you have sown
        And as the fear grows
        The bad blood slows and turns to stone

        1. Money, it’s a hit
          Don’t give me that do goody good bullshit

        2. “Are those dogs barking?”

          /Arthur Carlson

      2. Upon further googling, maybe Waters has gone off the deep-end:

        It is a very complicated situation which is why you and I and all the other people in the world who care about their brothers and sisters and not just about the people of our own faith, our own colour, our own race or our own whatever, have to stand in solidarity shoulder to shoulder. This has been a very hard sell particularly where I live in the United States of America. The Jewish lobby is extraordinary powerful here and particularly in the industry that I work in, the music industry and in rock’n roll as they say. I promise you, naming no names, I’ve spoken to people who are terrified that if they stand shoulder to shoulder with me they are going to get fucked. They have said to me “aren’t you worried for your life?” and I go “No, I’m not”.

        1. Roger Waters, paranoid? No no no . . .

          1. Really more Sid Barrett’s bag.

            1. Syd was too far gone to worry about people trying to get him.

    3. Yes. He also hates any album not exclusively comprising metaphors about his childhood.

      1. No. War and TV are good subjects too.

    4. I’m a big fan of Waters, but he is a bit off the deep end on Israel. I don’t care. His music exists independently of whatever wacky opinions he has today.

      1. I’m a fan of Wagner symphonies, notwithstanding his blatant anti-semitism.

        Separate the art from the artist and your life will forever be happier.

        1. Exactly. Especially as a libertarian, worrying about what artists’ political views are is really going to detract from your enjoyment of things.

      2. I’m with you Zeb, I happen to enjoy listening to Waters, hell, I even enjoy listening to his Amused to Death. I enjoyed catching him live to play The Wall from my $200 seat. For some reason, though he pretends to disdain capitalism, the seats weren’t free and I don’t understand why. Perhaps because he’s nothing but a hypocrite?

        If I only listened to music by people that share my political and economic views I’d be stuck listening to nothing but Rush? Rush is fine but that would get old. I don’t really give a shit about the political views of “artists” as long as I enjoy the music.

        1. *I don’t really give a shit about the political views of “artists” as long as I enjoy the music.*

          You should, if it turns the heads of your fellow fans into mush and makes them more apt to vote for statists.

    5. Waters hates Israel?

      This was my thought too. Of course, I rarely know what the celebrity class is up to if sarc doesn’t link to it in the AM links and that’s just mostly to look at the pictures.

    6. Waters is a commie and so was his mommy.

  2. NeoCon hysterics. And I mean that literally. I think Rubin and Hinderaker’s wombs are wandering about their bodies, causing madness through an imbalance of humours.

    1. SnoConz!

    2. Rubin is the embodiment of the TEAM RED Establishment. Boring, predictable and stolid in the service of soft-statism.

      1. “Soft?”

        1. I agree with Cal. What is “soft” about it?

    3. Jennifer Rubin is the nastiest Straussian out there. Noemie Emery comes in a close second. These are empty people with zero intellectual ability and a lot of anger toward the little people for not submitting to the rule of their masters. After all, they did, so why shouldn’t everyone else? They nag and harass, but on a deeper level, they want to be led. By challenging the Straussians and rejecting them, you are threatening that setup.

      Some of the male Straussians like Michael Gerson and Peter Wehner come in a close third. They are very whiny and childish, prone to pouting when the right-wing adults don’t go along with their little control fantasies. I have read that Gerson actually had a nervous breakdown at one point.

  3. I’ve said before, sanctions only hurt the weak and powerless, so they are cruel and inhumane.


  5. If you play Rand Paul’s speech backwards, he clearly says “KILL THE JOOZ”.

  6. Pink Floyd brought us some of the better concept albums – which really don’t exist anymore.


    1. Billie Joe Armstrong doesn’t want to be an idiot? When your first two albums titles are both scatalogical in nature and your first big hit single is about masturbation AND your entire musical output is derivative neo-punk garbage, I think it’s too late to worry about being idiotic.

      1. When your first two albums titles are both scatalogical in nature

        Um, what? Dookie is their third album, but their first on a major label. Are you saying that Kerplunk is also scatalogical? Or Insomniac?

  7. If Rand had quoted something from The Wall, Hinderaker may have had a point.

  8. Speaking of WWI, Dan Carlin is doing a series on it. It’s good listening.

    1. I find Carlin’s FM DJ style to be shallow, but not intolerable. Much like your posting, Warty.

      1. I find him bloated but pleasurable. Much like your mom, come to think of it.

        1. Mother did mention you. She thinks you make a valiant pretense at sex despite your steroid shrunken penis. She always admired those who fought against impossible odds.

    2. He has a goofy cadence, but I enjoyed the Ostfront series.

  9. Kinnath,

    No way. Sanctions never funnel money to dictators despots and tyrants! After all that foreign aid in Africa, the people are so free, and armed as well. They never have to worry anymore about being weak and unarmed, while the tyrants steal the aid money to keep themselves in power.

    Oh, and Somalia. Yeah, that’s right, you want your freedom, go to Somalia. There was no way that Somalia was a condition of government. I mean, they never confiscated all kinds of money from people, never imposed one regulation, and the people were free and there were free markets from the beginning you know. So it was all the free markets fault.

    It’s so easy being liberal. I mean, you don’t even have to use deductive logic, nor reason. All you have to do is use emotion, engage in character assassination, write bullshit about how robbery benefits the economy, and if anyone disagrees call them a racist. Plus we get to advocate theft, and don’t even have to break in someone’s house. We don’t even face consequences because the politicians and is are shielded from it…. And they are top men who need to tell us what to do. Oh, and neocons are just like us, they just advocate some different forms of theft sometimes. We’ve even banded together in congress. 17 trillion bitches! Yay!


    1. I see you are an acolyte of the P Brooks school of commenting.

  10. (The senator specifically cited the Allies’ Naval blockade, which extended past the armistace into the middle of 1919.)

    I love him so much more just for knowing this. It’s so important! Anyone can talk about the Treaty of Versailles, but how do you think it ended up so bad? Because the Allies continued starving people during the Armistice.

    1. I think you mean to say “The Allies continued starving Germans during the Armistice.”

      Next thing you know, you’ll be calling the Japanese-American interns during WWII “people.”

      1. Some of them were Austrians.

      2. You should review the definition of an armistice.

        Also, Korematsu vs. the U.S. was an abomination of a decision.

  11. Try also ‘Before the Deluge’ – Otto Friedrich

    Rand is dead right on both claims, but I don’t see that as blaming America.

    Everything you need to know about the Republicans behavior is contained in this one little incident.


    Maintain the status quo with regards to the power structure within the party. That is all they care about.

    1. Weren’t a lot of the shitty things done by the Allies in fact done over Wilson’s protests? It does seem disingenuous for neocons to paint it as a “blame America” stance.

      1. Yes, Wilson WAS a piece of cra*. But the bad stuff during and after the Treaty of Versailles was done over US objections.

    2. I’m re-watching The Wire, as it’s on On Demnand now, and I was reminded of the one great lesson of the show – that anyone who upsets the status quo gets fucked.

  12. Sure sure, but what does Feeney the Arbiter have to say about this? No True Libertarian (insert hysterical non-argument, conjecture, rumor, and speculation here).

  13. Rand Paul quoted Pink Floyd in a speech? I already want to vote for him, he doesn’t need to keep winning me over!

  14. He shouldn’t have mentioned the Japan blockade, knowing that the neocons are looking to pounce on evidence of “isolationism.”

    But the Allied blockade of German was spot-on. This was WWI, not WWII, and it was after the armistice. And, yes, in addition to being cruel and wicked, it was a political blunder because it fed resentment which Hitler exploited.

    1. World War I was truly the most retarded war in modern world history. There was absolutely zero justification in the US intervening because all sides were imperialist assholes that were finally reaping a century’s worth of hubris and vanity.

      1. The most stupidly started, executed, and finished war. Even wars with silly names, like Jenkins’ Ear, had more rationality.

      2. One might reasonably wish that WWI had indeed been retarded.

    2. The US blockade of Japan before Pearl Harbor WAS one of the reasons for the attack. Japan was completely dependent of imported oil and we were cutting off some of supply.

      That is a fact. It can be discussed whether it justified the attach on Pearl Harbor. It can be discussed whether it was a deliberate provocation by Roosevelt to get us into the war. (Probably more effective that he planned)

      1. Japan was an aggressive violent entity with imperial designs from the late 1930s on. Hurting them with sanctions was one of the few good things done by Roosevelt.

        1. *Japan was an aggressive violent entity with imperial designs from the late 1930s on*

          More like from the early 1900s. But, oh yeah, woe is them, boo hoo, they had to invade every land mass in the Western Pacific because they had no oil with which to use for their conquest of China.

        2. Roosevelt, who favored the existing brutal empires of the British and French over the wannabe empires of Germany and Japan.

          Roosevelt was keen to get the US into WWII, but was stymied by domestic antipathy to US involvement. The attack on Pearl Harbor took care of that.

          Why did Roosevelt refuse attempts by the commander in Pearl Harbor to bolster defenses there against attack?

  15. Rand Paul PLAGIARIZED Pink Floyd!!!

    //Progtard incapable or processing that Rand is a threat to Hillary

  16. Without having read the explanations here, I would not have even knows what these guys were talking about when they said Pink Floyd lyrics were a dog-whistle for anti-Semitism.

    1. Unfortunately, that is the level of political debate in America today. To discredit an argument, all I need say is that any utterance — your post, for example — is a “dog whistle” or “code phrase” for racism /sexism/ homophobia/ antisemitism/ other-bigotry-moral-panic-of-the-moment, and the debate changes from the merit of your argument to whether you are really a bigot as charged.

    2. Agreed.

      If every person that sings along at the top of their lungs with Roger Waters is an fervent anti-Semite, the pro-Israel lobby probably has too much ground to possibly make up.

      1. EDIT: the pro-Israel lobby probably has lost too much ground to possibly make up.

  17. I was looking up Pink Floyd lyrics and found this one – now here’s a dog whistle…

    “Waiting to cut out the deadwood.
    Waiting to clean up the city.
    Waiting to follow the worms.
    Waiting to put on a black shirt.
    Waiting to weed out the weaklings.
    Waiting to smash in their windows
    And kick in their doors.
    Waiting for the final solution
    To strengthen the strain.
    Waiting to follow the worms.
    Waiting to turn on the showers
    And fire the ovens.
    Waiting for the queens and the coons
    and the reds and the jews.
    Waiting to follow the worms.”


    1. I don’t want to draw any assumptions about your musical knowledge, so I’m unsure if your post is sarcastic or not.

      Are you aware of the context of that song within the album it appears on?

      1. I was actually thinking of this exact song when I was thinking that if anyone thinks anything political about Roger Waters, it’s remembering the really unsubtle, mouth-frothing attacks on fascism that really didn’t have any relevance to anything outside of his highly, highly inebriated cranium.
        Who’s been paying attention to anything Waters has said about anything since about 1982?

        1. OK, but seriously, Waters has been in the news recently (last few months) saying anti-Semitic stuff. So no, there’s…actual stuff.

      2. “I’m unsure if your post is sarcastic or not.”


    2. Not sure if serious…

      1. not serious

    3. Taken out of context, you could use Pink Floyd lyrics to argue either side of almost any point.

      ‘Animals’ was an ode to libertarian economics.

  18. Alternative headline: Rand Paul reveals himself to be Keynesian after all! Seriously, Economic Consequences of the Peace is the book that launched Keynes’s career. Rand’s point is nuanced, responsible, and mainstream.

  19. 36 comments and nobody points out the glaring typo. You guys are slipping.

  20. General Butt Naked told me (~a week or so I think) I was being crazy when I said Rand’s FP was going to be attacked in repeated waves by both the right and the left.

    Its not even so much the ‘substance’ of the thing, as much as (noted in the story here) the ‘sound’ of it. he could easily maintain his principled neutrality and ‘nontervenshunist’ posture, so long as he sings the right tune to the masses. But any whiff of fancy-thinking, ‘blame ‘Murica’, and he’s going to have to start offering to pre-emptively nuke Myanmar to get them off his back.

    1. “General Butt Naked told me (~a week or so I think) I was being crazy when I said Rand’s FP was going to be attacked in repeated waves by both the right and the left.”

      I remember that thread, but did GBN actually say that? I recall the disagreement being over what would be his biggest weakness, and it wasn’t clear IIRC whether it was the primaries or general election that was being discussed. I agree that FP is probably the area he’ll get attacked the most on in the primaries, which makes sense since it’s the area where he has the biggest and most obvious disagreements with mainstream Republicanism. I don’t think it will be his biggest weakness (or close to it) in the general election, should he make it that far, although I’m sure it would still get brought up (as will Hilary’s, if she’s the opponent).

      1. His specific point was,

        “Everyone always thinks their one personal issue* that libertarians deviate on is going to be the thing that sinks the entire party”

        *the ‘one personal thing’ here being my oft-repeated criticism that ‘nontervenshunizms’ (as conceived by many here) is fundamentally untenable as a ‘electable’ platform.

        (never mind ‘untenable in actual practice’)

        I think his point was that there were likely other areas more likely to be genuine sources of criticism other than FP. I still maintain that FP is an Achilles heel for Paul. He needs to learn from his dad’s mistakes and figure out how to spin ‘reduced entanglement’ in a way that doesn’t sound like moral chiding or being na?ve about security.

        There is clearly nascent support for a ‘less interventionist’ FP stance. However, he can only sell it when its coated with nice ‘Big Stick’ icing.

        1. I think FP is Rand’s sleeper hit. The establishment assholes will hate it but the general public is craving less war without his Dad’s ‘everything is America’s fault’ myopia.

          1. “the general public is craving less war without his Dad’s ‘everything is America’s fault’ myopia.”

            I think this is generally correct.

            But even when people *want* something, there’s an entirely different question about how you actually have to sell it to them.

            “less war”, by itself, can’t really be sold on its own brand. For reasons I will skip here.

            “more security-via less entanglement!” is a different way of pitching much of the same.

            I COMPLETELY agree he needs to disown the type of ‘historical analysis’ which the above post is an example of. There’s zero gain from playing ‘intellectual revisionist’. His dad sounded like a cranky junior high Vietnam-vet history teacher giving lectures on how the US ’caused’ so many problems.

            instead he should identify ‘future challenges’ that the country will face, and how we should deal with these things *intelligently* instead of ‘retreating from the world’ or ‘pretending that adversaries no longer exist’.

            He needs to address the criticisms people are GOING to make of him, and pre-empt them and rhetorically neutralize them. He needs to specifically ‘attack himself’ to prevent anyone sticking him with the ‘disengaged’ label.

            People don’t care about *actual* foreign policies in detail, but they DO care about the ‘attitude’ and ‘posture’ of it. he needs to differentiate from the ‘aggressive swagger’ of bush and the ‘feckless feelgood incoherence’ of Obama.

  21. Once again, it bears repeating: if you hear the dog-whistle, you’re the dog.

  22. I was hoping that RP’s Pink Floyd quote would have come “In The Flesh”.

  23. If you’re getting flak, that means you’re over the target.

    The fact that Rand Paul is attracting such vicious attacks from the usual idiots means that he has real traction and isn’t just a political sideshow the way his father was.

    1. How does that differentiate him from his father? Ron got flak from all sides, even had CNN “time edit” some interviews to make him look like an ass.

      Not that I totally disagree with you, I think Rand is a more likely candidate.

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