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Oh, my

The big, bloggy news today concerns a supporter of Rand Paul, the Republican candidate for Kentucky's Senate seat, who reacted badly when a female MoveOn.org volunteer went in for a harmless prank. (For the record, I too am a Paul supporter.) Writes the Louisville Courier-Journal (boldface emphasis mine):

At one point, violence broke out when Lauren Valle of MoveOn.org approached Paul and tried to give him an employee of the month award from Republicorp. Republicorp is a fake business MoveOn created to symbolize what it says is the merger of the GOP and business interests controlling political speech.Television video shows Valle, of Washington, D.C., being pushed to the ground and at least one foot stepping down on her head.

There is video of the incident at the first of the links above.Now, one would have thought this an opportunity for conservative pundits, especially of the Christian persuasion, to disown such violence and remind their readers and listeners that politics should be conducted in a spirit of charity, no matter who your opponents happen to be. But when it comes to Jim Hoft, of the First Things-sponsored "Gateway Pundit", such predictions tend to fall through:

Unhinged MoveOn.org Activist Tackled and Stepped On at Rand Paul Rally (Video)

Posted by Jim Hoft on Tuesday, October 26, 2010, 4:46 AM

Another day Another unhinged leftist stalks and lunges at a Republican leader.MoveOn.org contract employee Lauren Valle wasnt counting on this reaction by Rand Paul supporters.She was tackled and stepped on by Paul supporters. (TPM)Look for the state-run media to make her into some kind of saint by the end of the day.

There is more in the same vein here. First things first, indeed.

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I agree with Sean. The guy (Tim Profitt) needs to be prosecuted -- and he will be: he's been ordered to court -- and the Rand Paul campaign needs to disassociate themselves from him -- and they did: he's been fired by the campaign. End of story?

I hope Ms Valle sues the pants off the guy who stomped on her head and neck.While the Tea Party movement may have some legitimate gripes, I think we are seeing some of the fringe wackos who gravitate to this loose organization.Not a pretty picture.

" , , , to extrapolate these incidents into something more than what they are?"Sean --Something *more* than they are? Come on. When was the last time you saw or even heard of such a brazen incidence of violence at *any* American political gathering? Or do you consider two thugs kicking one small woman on the ground a minor infringement of the law? We're not talking about man-handling here, Sean, or even a quick loss of temper -- we're talking about considered brutality.

AnnOutside two Health Care town hall meetings last year a union thug actually bit the end of an anti-Obama protester's finger off and a group of white union members stomped on and kicked a black tea party supporter while calling him a an N-word. Unlike this woman, he had to be taken away in an ambulance. All this was happening during a time when Tea Partiers were being accused of "Brown Shirt" tactics. I saw the tape. Like I said, the guys should be prosecuted. My extropolation argument is that. Just because one guy loses his temper and commits violence, you can't extrapolate that to the whole group.

Dear all, please remember the post you're commenting on is not so much about whether it's out of line to stomp on someone's head, which I think we've established. The post questions the propriety of responding to such an event with a sneering attack on the victim -- and that on a blog hosted by First Things. Which is something that actually happened, and that no one need "extrapolate" to find alarming or significant. That makes this a particularly bad occasion for you, Sean, to try to balance things out with tales of liberal brutality. You're changing the subject. Again.

Margaret, my point was really that the Tea Partiers are a pretty amorphous group. The guy who organizes a lot of these things is a hard-nosed hard-core libertarian John Galt-er. And there are some others like him. There are also some people who really hate Obama because they believe all black people are invested in expanding government handouts and quotas in jobs and education. And there are the communitarian Republicans and Reagan Democrats you mention.I think the reason things didn't get out of hand at the local rallies here is because a) the organizers have encouraged people to use the open mic sessions to talk about what they think should be improved, rather than just griping about how awful everything is (though there is a lot of that), and b) the rallies aren't about any single candidate, but about ideas.One of the fellows who was largely responsible for keeping things constructive at the rallies is running for village council this year, and I will probably vote for him. I disagree with his political ideas, but he's at least willing to bring new perspectives to problems here, and he's not a contrarian.

Guys - back on pointThis was a criminal assualt, not a difference of political opinion. Anyone who writes commentary that the victim "had it coming" or "caused" the incident is misrepresenting a pretty clear video record and trying to turn it into a political argument. It is not. Lauren presumably has a good lawyer and all the perpetrators should be prosecuted.It remains to be seen whether the Tea Party or Mr. Paul's particular incarnation of it, somehow contributed to the assault in setting a hostile environment or stirring up anger to the point of incitement. Since I had already voted for his opponent, this has no effect on me. I hope my fellow Kentuckians will think twice and check to see if this affects their opinions of the man.

MollieAgain, I was responding to the implication made posters that this behavior was somehow the natural result of the political leanings or beliefs of the people involved.e.g. "The brown-shirt mentality at work in the Tea Party is starting to surface" and "While the Tea Party movement may have some legitimate gripes, I think we are seeing some of the fringe wackos who gravitate to this loose organization." and Ann's implication that this is a behavior unique to conservatives.Obviously, you ignored my point - that if this is about violence and civil discourse, it ought to be about that rather than an opportunity to make hay about nutty conservatives and libertarians. Sorry you think that's off subject.

"Anns implication that this is a behavior unique to conservatives."Sean --I made no such implication. I even pointed out that this was untypical of *either* liberals or conservatives. But it is a fact that it happened at the rally of an extremely conservative candidate, and it seems to me that conservatives should be asking themselves -- why would anyone think that such behavior would be acceptable at a conservative rally?If one of your kids stole a car wouldn't you be wise to wonder why and not just dismiss it at a minor event? It's your minimizing of the incident that I fault.

I'm not sure Sean is minimizing the behavior, just resents it being exclusively associated with those who share his political leanings. Certainly, there are influential liberals who will hammer on this theme remorselessly, as anybody who watched Bill Maher last night learned. (Disclaimer: I stay with my widowed mother two weekends a month--your prayer intentions are appreciated--and she controls the remote.)But it might be useful to clear up this matter through scientific study a la research psychologist Richard Nisbett. He looked at several indicators that offered quantitative and qualitative evidence that Southern males are more prone to violence than Yankee boys. back iin 1992.http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/199211/southern-discomfort

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