The Morning Jolt

Politics & Policy

Welcome Back, Senator Rand Paul!

Finally, some good news: Kentucky senator Rand Paul is on the mend and back at work.

Struggling to breathe and talk, the result of six ribs being broken in the incident, Paul told [Washington Examiner‘s Washington] Secrets that he knew of no motive that would have sparked his neighbor to hit him from behind.

“From my perspective, I’m not really too concerned about what someone’s motive is. I’m just concerned that I was attacked from the back and somebody broke six of my ribs and gave me a damaged lung where at least for now I have trouble speaking and breathing and now I’ve hurt for 10 days,” the senator said after arriving back in Washington for a week of critical votes.

No official reason has been given for the attack and the lawyer for Boucher, 59, said politics was not the cause. Social media posts from Boucher show that he is aggressively anti-Trump and anti-Republican.

On November 8, Paul retweeted two articles suggesting that the attack was politically motivated, not driven by a landscaping dispute as some news accounts suggested. Perhaps the senator doesn’t want to make accusations until legal proceedings are complete. It will be good to hear his full account.

If, as those articles suggest, Paul was attacked by an enraged partisan, this would mark the third criminal assault on a Republican members of Congress this year. On May 8, a woman tried to run Rep. David Kustoff off the road:

A Tennessee woman hated that her congressman voted for the controversial Republican health-care bill in the House of Representatives, authorities said.

So Wendi L. Wright tried to run Rep. David Kustoff (R-Tenn.) off the road after he visited the University of Tennessee at Martin, they said.

The Weakley County Sheriff’s Department said Wright tailed the car carrying Kustoff. At some point, the congressman and his aide became afraid and worried that Wright wanted to force them off the road.

They then turned into a driveway and stopped. That’s where Wright got out, screamed at the congressman and struck the windows of his vehicle, even reaching inside the car, the sheriff’s department said.

And then in June, James Hodgkinson fired at least 70 rounds at Congressional Republicans at baseball practice in Alexandria, leaving GOP House Majority Whip Steve Scalise critically injured and several others hurt.

Three violent attacks on members of Congress in seven months is the sort of thing that would ordinarily generate long feature pieces in the media about the “culture of hate” and “out-of-control partisan appetite for violence” plaguing the country, with hard questions asked about whether the most incendiary voices are partially responsible for these sorts of attacks.

You might hear some leader say something like . . . 

We hear so many loud and angry voices in America today whose sole goal seems to be to try to keep some people as paranoid as possible and the rest of us all torn up and upset with each other. They spread hate. They leave the impression that — by their very words, that — violence is a acceptable. You ought to see — I’m sure you are now seeing the reports of some things that are regularly said over the airwaves in America today. It is time we all stood up and spoke against that kind of (pounding podium) reckless speech and behavior.

That, of course, was President Bill Clinton after the Oklahoma City bombing. But I guess there’s no broader lesson or important theme that can be discerned from three violent attacks on Republican lawmakers in seven months, huh?

How Much Moore of This Can We Stand?

An interesting data point, for those who argue that the opposition to Roy Moore is driven by liberal and media elites, outsiders, and not Alabamans:

Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama, on Monday, told a reporter with ABC News that embattled Senate candidate Roy Moore should “seriously consider dropping out” ahead of the Dec. 12 general election.

In addition, according to a reporter with the Huffington Post, Shelby is advocating for a write-in campaign for sitting Senator Luther Strange, the Republican who lost to Moore during the Sept. 26 GOP runoff.

Richard Shelby was reelected with 64 percent of the vote last November. I think he’s got his finger on the pulse of his state.

The allegations are getting worse:

In a brief appearance before reporters in his small Etowah County hometown of Gallant, Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore again denied wrongdoing and said that he doesn’t even know his latest accuser, who came forward Monday.

Moore spoke for a couple of minutes with reporters and took no questions. His wife, Kayla, also made a brief statement.

“I can tell you without hesitation this is absolutely false,” Moore told reporters. “I never did what she said I did. I don’t even know the woman. I don’t know anything about her.”

Except . . . 

At a press conference in New York on Monday, Beverly Young Nelson alleged she was sexually assaulted by Moore in December 1977 when she was 16 years old and he was 30.

Nelson produced a high school yearbook that she said Moore signed about a week before she said the assault occurred in Moore’s car in the parking lot of a restaurant where she worked and he frequently visited.

Let’s get handwriting analysts to take a look at that yearbook. Presuming that it is indeed Moore’s handwriting, he’s been caught in a lie. This is what happens when you attempt both the blanket denial and the modified limited hangout simultaneously — the latter invalidates the former.

(Did the local assistant district attorney sign your yearbook, telling you how beautiful and sweet you are? Fairly or not, this is going to be a really big red flashing neon sign of guilt to a lot of people. Grown men just don’t sign many high school yearbooks of teenage girls.)

Remember, in Moore’s interview with Hannity about the four preceding accusers, he contradicted himself several times.

He began, “I’ve never known this woman or anything with regard to the other girls.”

But then he said he does remember at least one of them, and makes a comment suggesting that he may have dated one:

HANNITY: Well let me let me give the details. Debbie Wesson Gibson says she was 17 when you spoke to her high school civics class and asked her out on several dates and it did not progress — her words — beyond kissing, according to the Washington Post. Did that happen?

MOORE: I do not remember speaking to civics class. I don’t remember that. I do not remember when we . . . I seem to know or remember knowing her parents . . . that they were friends. I can’t recall the specific dates because that’s been 40 years but I remember her as a good girl.

HANNITY: But do you remember ever going on a date with her? She said that you asked her out on the first of several dates but nothing progressed beyond kissing.

MOORE: I don’t remember specific dates. I do not and I don’t remember if it was that time or later. But I do not remember that.

HANNITY: But you know hard but you never dated her ever? Is that what you’re saying?

MOORE: No but I don’t remember going out on dates. I knew her as a friend. If we did go on dates then we did. But I do not remember that.

HANNITY: At that time in your life. . . . Let me ask you this, you do remember these girls; would it be unusual for you as a 32 year old guy to have dated a woman as young as 17? That would be a 15 year age difference. Do you remember dating girls that young at that time?

MOORE: Not generally, no. If did, you know, I’m not going to dispute anything but I don’t remember anything like that.

But he did in fact dispute that! He began by asserting, “I’ve never known this woman or anything with regard to the other girls.”

HANNITY: But you don’t specifically remember having any girlfriend that was in her late teens even at that time.

MOORE: I don’t remember that and I don’t remember ever dating any girl without the permission of her mother. And I think in her statement she said that her mother actually encouraged her to go out with me.

If he never dated any teenager, why would he want to note and emphasize his regard for parental permission? This is like saying, “I don’t remember ever eating any cookie from the cookie jar and I don’t remember eating the biggest one.”   

He continues, “ . . . It involves a 14 year old girl, which I would have never had any contact with, nothing with her mother or any courthouse or anywhere else would I have done that. In fact, her allegations contradict the whole behavior pattern of the other two young ladies who even witnessed yourself.”

Wait, if he didn’t go on any of these dates, why is he referring to the “behavior pattern” of the other accusers? If they’re lying, why is he pointing to their accounts as contradictory evidence that this particular accuser’s account cannot be true?

ADDENDA: Yesterday’s Jolt mentioned the 1998 op-ed by Gloria Steinem that some later characterized as the “one free grope” rule. I’m not the only one reminded of that in the spate of modern sexual harassment allegations; the great Caitlyn Flanagan observes:

The notorious 1998 New York Times op-ed by Gloria Steinem must surely stand as one of the most regretted public actions of her life. It slut-shamed, victim-blamed, and age-shamed; it urged compassion for and gratitude to the man the women accused. Moreover (never write an op-ed in a hurry; you’ll accidentally say what you really believe), it characterized contemporary feminism as a weaponized auxiliary of the Democratic Party.


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