Rand Paul, August 2009:

What happened in Germany, when the Weimar Republic printed up so much money and you carry it around in wheelbarrows? There was a collapse, and they actually voted in a Hitler. You could get something like that in our country if we’re not careful and vigilant.

And again in July 2010:

People say, ‘Oh those Tea Party people, they’re angry.’ I say: ‘No, they’re concerned and they’re worried.’ They’re worried that we could destroy the currency by adding such a massive debt.” Paul then invoked the Nazis: “In Germany it led to Hitler.”

And again in this month’s GQ:

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.”

This is deeply loopy, fact-free silliness.

First of all, Hitler didn’t come to power in 1923. That was the year of his failed Beer Hall Putsch. And as Yglesias and others have pointed out, hyperinflation did not directly lead to the rise of the Nazi Party — unemployment did. Finally, Hitler wasn’t even “elected” or “voted in” — he was appointed Chancellor by a  senile Hindenburg in 1933.

It’s bad enough for a candidate for US Senate to publicly commit repeated Godwin’s law violations, but to do so while getting the basic facts wrong is just assclownish.

This guy’s supposed to be smart?