The Pattern of Violent Attacks on Republican Lawmakers

by Jim Geraghty

From the Tuesday edition of the Morning Jolt…

Welcome Back, Senator Rand Paul!

Finally, some good news: Kentucky Senator Rand Paul is on the mend and back at work.

Struggling to breathe and talk, the result of six ribs being broken in the incident, Paul told Secrets that he knew of no motive that would have sparked his neighbor to hit him from behind.

“From my perspective, I’m not really too concerned about what someone’s motive is. I’m just concerned that I was attacked from the back and somebody broke six of my ribs and gave me a damaged lung where at least for now I have trouble speaking and breathing and now I’ve hurt for 10 days,” the senator said after arriving back in Washington for a week of critical votes.

No official reason has been given for the attack and the lawyer for Boucher, 59, said politics was not the cause. Social media posts from Boucher show that he is aggressively anti-Trump and anti-Republican.

On November 8, Paul retweeted two articles suggesting that the attack was politically motivated, not driven by a landscaping dispute as some news accounts suggested. Perhaps the senator doesn’t want to make further accusations until legal proceedings are complete. It will be good to hear his full account.

If, as those articles suggest, Paul was attacked by an enraged partisan, this would mark the third criminal assault on Republican members of Congress this year. On May 8, a woman tried to run Rep. David Kustoff off the road:

A Tennessee woman hated that her congressman voted for the controversial Republican health-care bill in the House of Representatives, authorities said.

So Wendi L. Wright tried to run Rep. David Kustoff (R-Tenn.) off the road after he visited the University of Tennessee at Martin, they said.

The Weakley County Sheriff’s Department said Wright tailed the car carrying Kustoff. At some point, the congressman and his aide became afraid and worried that Wright wanted to force them off the road.

They then turned into a driveway and stopped. That’s where Wright got out, screamed at the congressman and struck the windows of his vehicle, even reaching inside the car, the sheriff’s department said.

And then in June, James Hodgkinson fired at least 70 rounds at Congressional Republicans at baseball practice in Alexandria, leaving GOP House Majority Whip Steve Scalise critically injured and several others hurt.

Three violent attacks on members of Congress in seven months is the sort of thing that would ordinarily generate long feature pieces in the media about the “culture of hate” and “out-of-control partisan appetite for violence” plaguing the country, with hard questions asked about whether the most incendiary voices are partially responsible for these sorts of attacks.

You might hear some leader say something like…

We hear so many loud and angry voices in America today whose sole goal seems to be to try to keep some people as paranoid as possible and the rest of us all torn up and upset with each other. They spread hate. They leave the impression that — by their very words, that — violence is a acceptable. You ought to see — I’m sure you are now seeing the reports of some things that are regularly said over the airwaves in America today. It is time we all stood up and spoke against that kind of (pounding podium) reckless speech and behavior.

That, of course, was President Bill Clinton after the Oklahoma City bombing. But I guess there’s no broader lesson or important theme that can be discerned from three violent attacks on Republican lawmakers in seven months, huh?

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