A group of Rand Paul supporters accosted an activist from MoveOn.org before the Conway-Paul senate debate in Kentucky last night. As you can see in the video, some Paul supporters grabbed the victim and forced her to the pavement. A man in a black and white shirt pinned her down while another guy in a baseball cap stomped on her head and neck. She reportedly sustained a concussion.
The victim was waiting for Rand Paul to arrive so that she could present him with a satirical "Employee of the Month" award RepubliCorp, a fictional organization that MoveOn.org created to symbolize the merger between corporate America and the GOP.
It's not clear who the guys who tackled her thought they were. Clearly, they were Paul supporters, as evidenced by their campaign bling. Why did they think it was their job to keep the victim from approaching the candidate? Were they just random supporters, or did the campaign assign them a role. Another Republican senate candidate, Joe Miller, got in trouble after his irregular security detail handcuffed a blogger at a campaign event.
The Paul campaign is equivocating about something as basic as a curb stomping caught on video, issuing this smarmy statement:
We understand that there was an altercation outside of the debate between supporters of both sides and that is incredibly unfortunate. Violence of any kind has no place in our civil discourse and we urge supporters on all sides to be civil to one another as tensions rise heading toward this very important election.
The campaign is blaming the victim. The head stomp wasn't an altercation, i.e., a two-sided conflict. This was an attack. It wasn't just uncivil, it was criminal.
A candidate with a shred of integrity would denounce the attackers and apologize sincerely to the victim. Instead, Rand Paul is covering for his thugs.
Any campaign event can attract loose cannons. It's not necessarily the candidate's fault if someone wearing a campaign button gets violent. However, if this happens, it's the candidate's responsibility to unequivocally denounce the violent supporter and make it absolutely clear that his twisted values do not reflect those of the campaign. Paul isn't willing to do that. So, if they weren't his thugs before, they're his thugs now.
So, Rand Paul thinks that curb stomping is on par with street theater. Good to know.
Update: A Kentucky tea party activist has identified one of the attackers. She says his name is Mike Pezzano.