I guess when you are “winning the morning” with the first breathless insider account of a putative presidential candidate’s semi-public “summit” meeting to plot a campaign, you don’t point and laugh at really dumb ideas coming from said candidate’s camp. And so Mike Allen of Politico didn’t so much as raise an eyebrow at these two howlers tossed to him like dog biscuits by Rand Paul:

Paul, who will face a much more crowded field on the Republican side but starts out as a slight front-runner in public polls, has begun an aggressive early campaign against Clinton. In the interview, he argued that her hawkish position inside the Obama administration for military intervention in places such as Libya will stack up unfavorably against his views.

“Her main Achilles’ heel is that she didn’t provide an adequate defense for our consulate in Libya,” Paul said during a trip to Georgia just before the midterms. “And also, she didn’t think through the unintended consequences of getting involved in the Libyan war. So I think you’d have an interesting dynamic, were there a [Republican] nominee that was for less intervention overseas and in the Middle East and that’s fiscally conservative. You’ve never seen that kind of combination before, and I think there’s a lot of independent voters, actually, that might be attracted to that kind of message….”

Paul…has set the ambitious goal of raising the Republican share of the African-American vote from 6 percent in 2012 to 33 percent in 2016.

So Paul thinks Benghazi! will convince Americans to turn to his brand of lethal non-interventionism, or militaristic American-Firstism, or whatever the hell it is. And African-Americans will turn to the GOP in numbers not seen since the Eisenhower Administration because…I dunno, I guess because Paul is willing to go personally lecture African-Americans on how they took a wrong turn during the New Deal, or because he’s about five minutes ahead of the curve on de-incarceration (a good thing, but not a game-changer for a candidate who pretty clearly would like to downsize the public sector by about half and who’s just now learned to stop objecting to the Civil Rights Act of 1964).

Allen doesn’t connect the dots between these two outrageous claims any more than he notes their absurdity. But who knows, maybe there’s already a committee being formed of African-Americans For Paul Because Benghazi! If so, we’ll probably learn of it first at Politico.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.