Rand Paul Suggests Economic Decline Could Lead To A New Hitler

September 22, 2010 10:02 a.m.

More goodness from Jason Zengerle’s tasty profile of Rand Paul in GQ: The Republican nominee for Senate in Kentucky just wants you to know that, with the way things are going these days, a new Hitler could be in America’s future at any moment.

It’s probably a good idea to keep an eye out for that, folks.

Here’s the long quote from Paul that Zengerle snagged on the trail with the candidate:

“In 1923, when they destroyed the currency, they elected Hitler. And so they elected somebody who vilified one group of people, but he promised them, ‘I will give you security if you give me your liberty,’ and they voted him in. And that’s not to mean that anybody around is Hitler, but it’s to mean that you don’t want chaos in your country. And we could have chaos, not just because of the Democrats, but because the Democrats and the Republicans have all been spending us into oblivion. And having a massive debt runs the risk of chaos at some point. Not tomorrow, maybe not next week–I mean, I can’t even predict the stock market six months from now. But I think that a country is in danger that spends beyond its means and lives beyond its means. And I don’t ever say it started with President Obama. I think it started long ago.”

So, there you have it. There’s no actual Hitler on scene at the moment as far as Paul knows but one just might be waiting in the wings if we’re not careful with our liberty or whatever. Here’s how Zengerle breaks down the comment:

It’s an incredible performance, one that begins with a gentle distancing from a loony analogy before reframing the analogy to make it seem less loony, then introducing a new analogy that isn’t just loony, it’s repugnant, but that also, as the analogy gets fleshed out in greater detail, begins to reveal itself as conforming to a certain logic that might be worthy of debate–all before ending on a bipartisan, pox-on-both-their-houses note that makes it clear that no, he was not comparing Obama to Hitler.

It should be noted that Paul’s fear-mongering about Hitler is nothing new to the tea party movement upon which his political successes have relied. Tea partiers have long compared Obama and the Democrats to the man who led Nazi Germany.

So Paul wasn’t really rocking the boat when he said what he said — but for a man who Zengerle notes is still “figuring out how to cozy up to the GOP establishment without alienating his rabid base,” the Hitler is coming comment may strike some of Paul’s more mainstream supporters as odd.

The TPM Poll Average shows Paul leading Democratic nominee Jack Conway 47.2-41.5.

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