One is probably almost begging for things to get worse in asking such a question, but the latest low is really low. The Huffington post is covering a story about a female MoveOn.org Democrat supporter who was physically assaulted by a male Rand Paul supporter at a debate in Kentucky:
An ugly scene took place outside the Kentucky Senatorial debate Monday night as what appeared to be a supporter of Republican candidate Rand Paul was captured by a local news affiliate literally stomping the head of a member of the progressive-activist organization MoveOn.org.
The MoveOn volunteer, Lauren Valle, went to the hospital after explaining what had happened to local press. As of 11:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time she remained there, according to another MoveOn official. According to a local Fox station, Valle had attempted to approach Paul before the debate took place, dressed in a blonde wig and with a “RepublicanCorp” sign mocking him as a stooge of special interests.
Attendees around Valle are heard screaming, “get the cops” as cameras captured her being dragged to the pavement by her red sweater. Once on the ground a man wearing white sneakers pushed the sole of his shoe down on her head.
There is no definitive word on who stomped on Valle or why they went to such lengths to stop her protest. A call to the Lexington police department was not immediately returned. The Kentucky Post, however, reported that: “Police say she refused treatment and later filed an assault report. Her identity is not yet released.”
The paper also reported that a second fight broke out before the debate, with a Conway supporter stepping on the foot of a female Paul supporter. The Paul supporter, who recently had foot surgery, refused medical treatment but filed an assault report.
UPDATE: A spokesman for the Lexington Police Department, Lt. Edward Hart, tells The Huffington Post that as off 12:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time they have not yet identified the man captured on video stomping the head of the MoveOn volunteer. Hart said that the department would be reviewing news footage of the incident and that they “are hoping someone can identify who the person is.” Until then, he said, it is a “pending investigation.”
Hart additionally offered some details from the police report filed from the incident. There were, he said, roughly 300 protestors outside the debate and only a handful of officers. “We were not anticipating any issues,” he acknowledged
Valle had been sent from Pennsylvania for the purposes of appearing outside the Paul event, according to Hart. “She had been attending multiple rallies with the same purpose. She stated that she was wearing a wig and as she was running up to Rand Paul she was either tripped on purpose or pushed to the ground.” Following the incident Valle “complained of injury to the temple area.”
Hart relayed that a fourth-degree assault report had been filed with the policy department — as is customary when the result “is a minor injury.” Once the suspect is identified it will be up to Valle “to file for warrant or the summons to bring that person into court.”
Now frankly, I am pretty apathetic about MoveOn, and I think this stunt is a good example of why. MoveOn has done some good work in the past, but to the degree that they are wasting their time and effort on stupid pranks like this when they could be doing something of value reinforces my ambivalence about them. And to be clear this I am not saying all political pranks are stupid. There are examples of great pranks in politics that have had real effects. But whose mind, exactly, is a picture of her holding a sign beside Rand Paul going to change? How many votes are we talking here?
Now all that being said, what the hell is the matter with Paul supporters? Politics has really gotten down to the lowest of lowest common denominators when trying to enact a harmless prank – as stupid as it was – result in a woman (not that it would be better if it was a dude) being tackled by a bunch of overweight men and stomped about the head. There can be no justification for this. What the hell is next. Are Tea Partiers going to start using those guns they were bringing to demonstrations? Beyond the charges that better follow I hope this helps to reinforce the image that the Tea Party is little more than a bunch of populist whingers. Or is this what they mean when advocate returning to American principles?