Outside the Kentucky Senate debate last night, several male Rand Paul supporters ganged up on a MoveOn protester, tore off her wig, and stomped on her head. Surely she was asking for it by...protesting peacefully. There's (highly disturbing) video.
The video below shows three or four men grabbing the woman, Lauren Valle, and pushing her to the floor, at which point an older man steps on Valle's head, pushing down with some force. In the middle of this melee, a female Paul supporter somewhat inexplicably steps over Valle and then stands there watching. The men are shrieking for the police, but of course the citizen strength prevails before the evil state. Or maybe they're just a bunch of thugs.
Valle had been trying to present Paul with a fake award from RepubliCorp, which MoveOn created to draw attention to the alignment of Republican and corporate interests. Though she's pretty alert in this video, a MoveOn official told Talking Points Memo that Valle was in the hospital and they were waiting to hear more about her condition.
Oh, by the way, the guy who pushed her down was wearing a "Don't Tread On Me" pin.
The Paul campaign said in a statement,
"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 statement said.
Technically true, but the only violence we've heard about on the Conway side was a guy stepping on a woman's injured foot. In the case of Valle, one side was engaging in agitprop; the other seemed to be acting out a fantasy of a citizen's militia.
It's all a vivid illustration of that pseudo-populist rage in action, rained down on the head of one liberal woman whom they seem to believe is about to attack their dear leader. Melissa Harris Perry (formerly known as Melissa Harris-Lacewell) had some interesting thoughts on the nature of that rage this morning on Twitter:
Curbstomping a woman — with all the chillingly resonant implications of violence against women — is probably not going to be condoned by anyone, at least publicly. But the rage that took its natural conclusion last night has been tacitly seen as a sort of justifiable response to economic privation. But they're entitled to it — as long as they're white and male.
Update: The Conway campaign has put out a statement that includes an explicit reference to gender: "We can disagree on issues, and I don't know what preceded the incident, but physical violence by a man against a woman must never be tolerated. It is my hope that steps have been taken to ensure this kind of thuggish behavior never happens again in this campaign."