A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Bill Straub: There are lies, real lies, silent lies, hallucinations and fabrications — and Rand Paul

It is obvious that the Republican Party has been stricken with a strange and exotic disease that leads to hallucinations about rigged elections and the chills over a presidential impeachment. The symptoms indicate a really bad case of something called Rand Paul.

It is past time for the voters of Kentucky to come to grips with the fact that it has not once, but twice, dispatched a crackpot to the United States Senate, a man so lost in the ozone that he, at times, makes half-wits like Sen. Ron Johnson, R-WI, sound sagacious and disreputable figures like Sen. Ted Cruz, R-TX, appear angelic.

Kentucky has a tradition of sending great men to the Senate, folks like Henry Clay, John Sherman Cooper and Alben Barkley. It’s safe to say that Paul, R-Bowling Green, has no chance of cracking that distinguished line-up. His legislative background firmly establishes that he wouldn’t even qualify as a mediocre Warren County constable.

The NKyTribune’s Washington columnist Bill Straub served 11 years as the Frankfort Bureau chief for The Kentucky Post. He also is the former White House/political correspondent for Scripps Howard News Service. A member of the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame, he currently resides in Silver Spring, Maryland, and writes frequently about the federal government and politics. Email him at williamgstraub@gmail.com

But here he is.

Rand Howard Paul has been an embarrassment to Kentucky and the nation as a whole since he stepped foot into the upper chamber in 2011. It’s not his conservative politics – any member of the Senate from the Bluegrass is going to be right of center these days – so much as his smug self-importance and refusal to let the truth get in the way of his bonkers political imaginings.

In January alone, Paul has set some sort of unofficial record for flying off the reservation.

First, Paul has exhibited a weird animosity toward individuals wearing masks during a pandemic. During one of several Fox News appearances, he urged those who have already contracted the COVID-19 virus or been vaccinated with the first of a two-shot regimen to “throw your mask away,” contradicting the recommendations of health care experts worldwide who warn that doing so would lead to the further spread of the disease.

While tendering that ignorant and potentially dangerous anti-mask statement, Paul got cute and added, “tell Dr. Fauci to take a leap,” referring to Dr. Anthony Fauci, an immunologist and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases who has performed yeoman’s work and gained the public’s confidence battling an outbreak that has taken more than 427,000 lives as of this writing.

The Senator categorically refused to acknowledge, during an appearance on This Week with George Stephanopoulos on ABC, that President Joe Biden legitimately won the election and that the race was not stolen from the Republican incumbent, former President Donald J. Trump (and isn’t it a relief to see the word “former” before the words “President Donald J. Trump” in that phrase).

Stephanopoulos attempted several times to get Paul to acknowledge the election went to Biden legitimately by more than seven million votes. The senator chose to respond with a non-sequitur, “Well, what I would suggest is — what I would suggest is that if we want greater confidence in our elections, and 75 percent of Republicans agree with me, is that we do need to look at election integrity and we need to see if we can restore confidence in the election.”

To this day, almost three months since the election, no one has stepped forward with any evidence so much as hinting at massive fraud in the 2020 presidential outcome. It’s not like those who wish it were true haven’t had the time or opportunity to drum up examples of a great, coordinated, illicit push to tilt the vote away from Trump.

There’s nothing. It’s a canard. Even then-Attorney General William Barr, despite pressure from Trump himself, acknowledged the truth. And Paul knows it.

Yet Paul keeps playing the scam card. Was there fraud as he suggests, dead people voting, others casting more than one ballot? Sure. It happens every election. A friend who worked in the administration of Republican Gov. Louie B. Nunn said that during the 1971 election he voted three times – in Frankfort where he was working, in Lexington where he attended the University of Kentucky and Elizabethtown where he resided. The late, great Kentuckian Ed Prichard was rather infamously caught up in a Bourbon County ballot box stuffing scandal way back in 1948 that sent him to prison and ended a promising electoral career.

But fraud regarding seven million votes? Hardly. At best it was the usual penny-ante stuff that had no impact on the final result.

“I’ve been willing to say there was fraud in the election,” Paul bravely congratulated himself during yet another Fox News appearance. “I don’t know if it was enough fraud because I don’t think we did enough investigation as to whether it would have overturned the election. I’m agnostic.”

It didn’t and anyone with a sliver of integrity would acknowledge same. Almost every court case filed by the Trump campaign seeking to overturn the election results based on fraud claims were tossed due to lack of evidence. Election officials across the nation, Democrats and Republicans, in competitive states like Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Georgia, asserted there existed no evidence of widespread fraud or security concerns.

Yet Paul persists, and then whines when Stephanopoulos correctly asserts that any claim that the election was stolen is a lie.

“Hey, George! Georgie, where you make a mistake is that people coming from the liberal side like you, you immediately say everything’s a lie instead of saying there are two sides to everything,” Paul said. “Historically what would happen is if I said I thought there was fraud, you would introduce someone else who said there wasn’t. But now you insert yourself in the middle and say that the absolute fact is that everything I’m saying is a lie.”

Anytime someone tries the old “two sides to everything” baloney, my mind usually shifts to, “Really? Including incest?”

As always, rely on Twain. Here he talks about the “silent lie.”

“Among other common lies, we have the silent lie, the deception which one conveys by simply keeping still and concealing the truth.”

Here we find Sen. Rand Paul concealing the truth. So he’s either telling a Twain silent lie or he actually with no evidence, believes the election was stolen, which makes him very, very stupid.

Choose your poison, senator.

Still in January, Paul further expressed opposition to the impeachment proceedings, the second one, brought against Trump for basically agitating for sedition, working participants in a “Stop the Steal” rally in DC into such a lather that they literally invaded the Capitol building, destroyed property and sought to take their rage out on elected officials, who fortunately found cover. Unfortunately, six people died in the riot or, if you prefer, terrorist attack.

From the get-go, Paul insisted that Trump said and did nothing wrong during the incident, revealing his true concern over impeachment consequences with the statement, “A third of the Republicans will leave the party. This isn’t about, anymore, the Electoral College, this is about the future of the party, and whether you’re going to ostracize and excommunicate President Trump from the party. Well, guess what? Millions of his fans will leave as well.”

The Democrats, he said, are “wanting to impeach the president because they’re deranged with hatred and bitterness,” ignoring the words of his fellow Kentuckian, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Louisville, who said on the Senate floor that “The mob was fed lies. They were provoked by the president and other powerful people, and they tried to use fear and violence to stop a specific proceeding of the first branch of the federal government which they did not like.”

McConnell further said he would view the evidence before voting yea or nay on impeachment.

At the rally before the marauders stormed the Capitol, Trump used violent imagery and urged his supporters to “fight harder” to overturn the election results, thus handing him a second term.

“We will never give up,” Trump said at the rally. “We will never concede. It doesn’t happen. You don’t concede when there’s theft involved. Our country has had enough. We will not take it anymore, and that is what this is all about. And to use a favorite term that all of you people really came up with, we will stop the steal.
He added, “You will have an illegitimate president. That is what you will have, and we can’t let that happen.”

It’s pretty much an open and shut case. Trump pumped up the crowd and urged them to march on the Capitol, resulting in violence and death. If impeachment can’t address something like that, it can address nothing.

Paul, and others, it should be noted argue the proceeding is unconstitutional because Trump has already left office. Precedent says otherwise, and if that position were to hold, it would mean Katie bar the door on any president’s conduct during the last few weeks of his or her administration.

Regardless, it appears Trump will get off once again, thanks to his Republican sycophants. A resolution offered by Paul declaring the proceedings unconstitutional failed, but the tally indicated there aren’t sufficient votes for conviction.
To make matters worse, Paul reverted to bothsiderism, suggesting, for instance, that Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT, the two-time candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, could be liable for the shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise, R-LA, by one of his supporters because he said at one point during the campaign, “The Republican plan is you get sick and die.”

There’s no comparison between the two. It’s just Rand Paul going from the ridiculous to the even more ridiculous, which he does with great regularity.

Related Posts

Leave a Comment