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Ever since the idea of Rand Paul as a serious presidential candidate has emerged, I’ve thought the trajectory of the project inevitable: things start falling apart when the candidate’s father comes in for close scrutiny.
Now, maybe this isn’t fair. If kooky relatives are disqualifying for the presidency, after all, we might as well abolish the office tomorrow. When your dad has held federal office and created a distinct ideological brand of which you’re the direct inheritor, however, you’re going to be perpetually yoked to one another whether you like it or not. My guess is that this moment falls into the “or not” category. From the Washington Free Beacon:
Former Rep. Ron Paul said he believes the U.S. government had prior knowledge of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and has kept this information hidden in a classified section of the 9/11 Commission report.
Paul, who made the comments during a radio interview last Friday, also argued that the crimes of Osama bin Laden were “minor” compared to the harm the U.S. government has caused since the 2001 attacks.
“I believe that if we ever get the full truth [about 9/11], we’ll find out that our government had it in the records exactly what the plans were, or at least close to it,” said Paul, during the interview with Money and Markets host Charles Goyette. “You already mentioned that [the U.S. government] had been warned that something was going to happen.”
However, Paul said he doubted that Bush administration officials personally helped plot the attacks.
“Does that prove the fact that our president and others actually sat down and laid the plans and did this? I don’t think it does,” he said.
Paul also said the U.S. government has been more destructive than 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden.
“Our own government did more harm to the liberties of the American people than bin Laden did,” said Paul. “[Bin Laden] was a monster himself, but that was minor compared to the damage done financially, the people that have died. And here we are, 24 years, and we’re still fighting a war in the pretense that had something to do with 9/11.”
It’s one of the basic rules of politics: if you’re explaining, you’re losing. Senik’s corollary to that rule: if you’re explaining the degrees of difference between you and a 9/11 truther, you’re drinking hemlock.
If anything, Ron’s allegation may be worse than straight-up trutherism. Believing that 9/11 was an inside job at least gives you the tidy conviction that there were evil masterminds pulling the strings. Saying that others planned it, we knew, and we just watched the pitch go by? That’s monstrous (not to mention inexplicable).
Questions for the Ricochetti: What responsibility — if any — does Rand have to address his father’s comments? And do these kinds of statements have any influence on how you think about the son’s potential candidacy?