Rand Paul

Politics is nasty business. Want proof? Watch this video, taken as Rand Paul, the Tea Party-backed Republican vying to become a U.S. senator from Kentucky, arrives at the Kentucky Educational Television studio in Lexington on Monday night, Oct. 25, for a debate with his Democratic opponent, Attorney General Jack Conway.

The woman, Lauren Lizabeth Valle, is a 23-year-old activist with MoveOn.org. She was wearing a wig as she rushed toward Paul as he got out of his vehicle, intending to present him with a fake award from a fake company — a way of drawing attention to what MoveOn.org says are efforts by big corporations to buy the election for Republicans — and get her photo taken with him.

You can see in the video what happened.

I’m not saying I think it was a good idea for someone to rush a political candidate, especially considering the highly charged atmosphere of the upcoming elections. But I am definitely saying that Paul’s supporters and campaign volunteers should be held legally accountable for assaulting the young woman, especially that guy who stepped on her head and shoulder.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that police are investigating the incident as a fourth-degree assault. The Associated Press talked to Paul campaign volunteer Tim Proffitt, the guy who stepped on Valle’s head. What does he have to say for himself? Basically that she deserved it:

Tim Profitt, a volunteer with the Republican’s U.S. Senate campaign, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the camera angle made the scuffle Monday night appear worse that it was. He criticized police for not stepping in and says other supporters warned authorities about the activist.

After being criticized for not responding strongly enough to the incident, Paul’s campaign issued a statement today saying the candidate “is extremely disappointed in, and condemns” the actions of his supporters who were involved. The statement said: “The Paul campaign has disassociated itself from the volunteer who took part in this incident, and once again urges all activists — on both sides — to remember that their political passions should never manifest themselves in physical altercations of any kind.”

Woo-hoo. Way to go Rand Paul! You really gave that guy a strong talking-to, didn’t you! Did you make him go to his room for the rest of the night, too?

I don’t know why I would expect anything better from a politician these days, though, especially from one who opposes marriage equality and who thinks the Americans With Disabilities Act and the Civil Rights Act should be repealed.