Rand Paul (Facebook)

Rand Paul zings Trump administration in annual Festivus rant: "Haven't seen this many billionaires in 1 place since I staked out Bilderbergs w/ Alex Jones"

The Kentucky Senator promises his annual Twitter airing of grievances has "only just begun" [UPDATED]


Matthew Rozsa
December 24, 2016 12:50AM (UTC)

Sen. Rand Paul, Republican from Kentucky, is continuing an annual Festivus tradition -- an airing (or in his case tweeting) of grievances.

What is Festivus, you ask? Heathen! It is a holiday created in a 1997 episode of "Seinfeld" known as "The Strike." Rituals include putting an unadorned aluminum poll in the middle of a room, performing feats of strength, and an "Airing of Grievances" that starts with Frank Costanza's immortal line:

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"I got a lot of problems with you and now you're gonna hear about them!"

It's December 23rd, and while it would be interesting to see Hillary Clinton air her many, many legitimate grievances (I'm sure James Comey, Vladimir Putin, and of course Donald Trump would all be targets), it was refreshing that Paul was willing to let both sides have it.

He started out by attacking progressive complaints about fake news stories swinging the 2016 presidential election, although he also took a nonpartisan (but somewhat dated) swipe at a certain NBC anchor who embellished his recollections of what happened when he reported on the Iraq War.

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He also took some refreshingly bold jabs at the rising leadership in his own party. President-elect Donald Trump's decision to staff his administration with plutocrats and the growing power of conspiracy theorists like Alex Jones were targeted in his next tweet, although the latter may have also been a self-deprecating jab at Paul's own appearance on Jones' racist and anti-Semitic show.

Not all of Paul's jokes landed, such as this line about Silicon Valley billionaire and PayPal founder Peter Thiel, who is a close adviser to President-elect Trump.

That said, Paul quickly rebounded with a refreshingly honest refusal to make amends with former United Nations ambassador John Bolton, whom the libertarian-ish Paul vowed to block from being secretary of state if nominated by Trump (The Donald went with ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson instead).

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This was quickly followed by two additional insults directed at the president-elect. The first was for nominating Gov. Rick Perry as secretary of energy despite the former Texas governor's embarrassing inability to remember that department's name in a 2011 debate and the second was for seeming to view his upcoming time in the White House as an opportunity to make a quick buck. If anything, it's surprising that Trump has so far allowed these insults from one of his former rivals for the presidency go unchallenged.

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At the time of this writing, Sen. Paul hasn't finished his Festivus Airing of Grievances, but he promises more to come.

Hopefully Trump can learn from Paul's example: It's okay to use Twitter to air one's grievances on Festivus. You just shouldn't make an everyday habit of it.

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UPDATE, 2:45 p.m.:

Sen. Paul returned to his Festivus tweeting on Friday afternoon after a brief pause.

Paul started with a string of tweets that offered the right-wing some of its favorite political red meat -- denouncing allegedly wasteful government spending.

 

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Sen. Paul also took a swipe at the media which has been reporting his Festivus tweets. His complaint was that they were writing "serious stories," which I would certainly say doesn't apply to the tone I've taken here. Nevertheless, I must ask Sen. Paul: Moi?!?!

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Sen. Paul then went on a bit of a sport bender, and I must confess I think his sense of humor flagged considerably here. Perhaps it's because I don't know Mean Gene from Gene Belcher, or maybe it's because I don't understand why he thinks Bernie Sanders supporters would be especially likely to believe pro wrestling is real (no offense taken, I just don't get the punchline). That said, his poke at New York Jets fans was witty enough to appeal even to those of us who don't follow sports, real or fake.

 

 

 

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Sen. Paul then took another swipe at the incoming Republican president, giving Trump yet another reason to dislike the junior Senator from Kentucky.

For a moment it seemed like Sen. Paul was wrapping things up.

 

As it turns out, though, Sen. Paul just couldn't help but share anecdotes about some of his Senate colleagues that I very much hope are true.

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Then he made this observation which, though funny, I must contend is in error. Sen. Paul, the way our president-elect has conducted his cabinet selection HAS, for all intents and purposes, been a reality show!

Then Sen. Paul decided to get some bipartisan swipes at both left-wing and right-wing media outlets. I'll admit it, Paul -- given Fox News' outlandishly paranoid belief that there is a War on Christmas, I wouldn't have been surprised if your tweet had been true!   

Finally, Sen. Paul wrapped things up for real.


Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a breaking news writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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