(Correction – My initial post misidentified the miscreants doing this as “Ron Paul supporters.” They were Rand Paul supporters. Ron Paul is Rand’s fathers, and while I think his ideas are wacky, I think he is a principled person and I don’t think for a minute he would tolerate crap like this.)
I don’t usually write about issues outside of Virginia, but the attack last night by Rand Paul supporters on a woman from MoveOn.org was truly horrifying, and should be viewed by every decent American so you can see what the Tea Party future will be like:
(more on the flip)
I do not know whether the woman who was attacked is okay. I do know that despite the fact that she appeared on television afterward and seemed all right, she was later taken to the hospital.
Rand Paul was asked about the incident on Fox News this morning. He said there was “a bit of a crowd control problem,” adding he doesn’t want anyone involved in “things that are not civil.” He suggested that what lay behind this incident is passion on both sides.
NO, NO, NO, No, NO, NO! These miscreants were not motivated by passion, and passion alone.
First, obviously, as individuals these perpetrators lack a moral compass.
But Conservatives not only refuse to condemn and reject the support of these individuals, like any decent person would, they actually encourage supports to behave this way. Not expressly, of course, Limbaugh and Beck are not idiots, but through the massive campaign to stoke fear, to dehumanize political opponents and to subtly suggest that violence is an acceptable agent of political change, their intended audiences are getting the message.
But, you know, I don’t even blame them. Limbaugh and Beck are what they are — they are grifters more interested, actually, in using politics to empty the pockets of their supporters much more than really effect political change. The fact that they are right wingers probably results more from the fact that Conservatives are bigger saps, and more easily parted from their money.
But I have nothing but contempt for the political leaders who either expressly support this behavior or refuse to plainly and directly call them on it — without qualification, without blaming it on the “passion of both sides” when one side is clearly the victim and one is clearly the criminal, without fear of alienating a voting block, albeit a BSC one.
Among the supporters of violence — Sharron Angle and Sarah Palin. Among the enablers by their refusal to condemn: John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, Mike Huckabee and John McCain.
Paul’s response, seems to me, to continue in the long, pathetic line of Republican tolerance of political violence, as long as it supports them. His inability to clearly and unequivocally condemn his own supporters for this act — and lets be very clear, there is no ambiguity in this over who is the criminal and who is the victim bespeaks of a profound moral and ethical cowardice. We need more from our leaders.
Is this really where the vast majority of people, decent, hardworking and law-abiding — want to let the tea party and the GOP lead America?
In any event, Sam Stein at the Huffington Post seems to be providing the best up-to-the-minute coverage if you want to follow the story.