Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Curbing Their Enthusiasm

Here’s what is known so far about the curbside incident outside the Rand Paul/Jack Conway debate the other night: the man who is seen on the video putting his foot rather forcefully on the head and neck area of Lauren Valle, a volunteer with, is Tim Profitt. He is not just some bystander; he is — or was — a campaign volunteer for Rand Paul. Mr. Profitt has apologized — sort of — for the incident but explains “that the camera angle made the scuffle Monday night appear worse that it was.” And that Ms. Valle should never have put her head under his boot in the first place. Meanwhile, at least one right-winger is blaming Ms. Valle for “provoking” the incident and that owes an apology to the poor beset Tea Party.

Ms. Valle was treated at a local hospital for her injuries and recovered enough to be able to appear on Keith Olbermann’s show on MSNBC last night. She plans to press charges, as the the local sheriff.

Meanwhile, the object of all this turmoil and violence, Rand Paul, was remarkably circumspect about expressing much more than mild admonitions in the passive voice about the whole thing. At one point he said that “both sides” need to calm down but failed to illustrate his theme with any examples of where a group of liberals assaulted a volunteer for a conservative organization and stepped on their head. I’m sure that if it’s happened, we would have heard about it, Barack Obama would have been blamed for it, Glenn Beck would have wept about it, Rush Limbaugh would have made a crude but sly racist comment, and Michele Bachmann would have declared that she will open a House investigation as to why liberals are allowed to demonstrate at campaign events.

As Ms. Valle noted last night, it’s ironic that the people who have been carrying on about standing up for the Constitution and the rights guaranteed therein seem to have a problem when other people exercise their rights of freedom of speech and assembly.