Rand Paul Tests Positive for COVID-19

The man is a moron.

CNN (“Rand Paul is first senator to test positive for coronavirus“):

Kentucky Republican Rand Paul is the first US senator to test positive for coronavirus, throwing an even greater sense of urgency into Senate negotiations over a massive stimulus package that had yet to come together Sunday afternoon.

A statement from Paul’s office posted to his Twitter account Sunday said he was “feeling fine” and was “tested out of an abundance of caution.”
But Senate Republicans, emerging from their closed-door lunch where they received the news, were extremely unsettled.

GOP senators told CNN Paul was in the gym with colleagues Sunday morning, and several pointed out how close Paul had sat to others during Senate lunches in recent days. Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas said he saw Paul in the Senate swimming pool Sunday, according to a source in the GOP lunch.

“This is a different ballgame now,” one Republican senator told CNN.

My uncharitable instant reaction to the headline popping up on a phone alert earlier was that this was a bit of karma for Paul’s outrageous stunt that delayed passage of a relief bill by a day to vote on a stupid amendment that ultimately failed by a whopping 96-3 vote. By the time I actually visited the site, though, I had reminded myself that nobody, not even a grandstanding jackass like Paul, deserves this.

After reading the report, I’m less sure.

He was seriously at a public gym? Dining next to colleagues? At a point where even President Trump was telling people not to do that?

Seriously?

FILED UNDER: Congress, COVID-19, Health, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. NW Steve says:

    I’m going to speculate, hope even though he doesn’t deserve it, that he ends up having one of the mild cases.

    From there he’ll commence to lecture us that “see, I had it, it really is just like the flu”. I think we should start a pool on when the first Republican pipes up and says “I was wrong”. I’ll take the NEVER square. please.

    11
  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    My uncharitable instant reaction

    My uncharitable instant reaction is not whether his grandstanding ass deserves it or not, (to quote William Munney, “Deserves got nothing to do with it.”) just that karma’s a beach, and he might very well have a long tiring swim in those dangerous waters.

    ETA: I will note that when he returns to the Senate, I doubt very much he will be welcomed with open arms. And that is long past due.

    3
  3. CSK says:

    James, I don’t think Paul was at a pubic gym. But one never knows.

    5
  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Via TPM:

    Politico reported that Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) said in a GOP lunch Sunday that he saw Paul swimming at the Senate gym pool in the morning, shortly before his office announced that he tested positive for the coronavirus.

    7
  5. James Joyner says:

    @CSK: l would consider the Senate gym ‘public’ in this context.

    11
  6. PJ says:

    He had part of one of his lungs removed last year:

    Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul announced Monday that he underwent surgery over the weekend to have a portion of his lung removed, a lingering result of a 2017 violent altercation with one of his Kentucky neighbors.

    Obviously he doesn’t seem to care about others, but he should have thought a bit more about himself.

    Not only selfish, but stupid?

    7
  7. Gustopher says:

    He was seriously at a pubic gym? Dining next to colleagues?

    His colleagues were dining at a pubic gym?

    ——
    Seriously, though, it’s not nice to make fun of the man’s hair.

    3
  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Gustopher: I’ll have you know that I have never once made fun of his hair. I would never make fun of a Republican Senator’s looks, even if they are from Kentucky. The fact that my hair is exactly the same has nothing to do with it.

    5
  9. CSK says:

    @James Joyner:
    So would I, but you used the word pubic.

    9
  10. Pylon says:

    So many things about this bear comment. First, it’s an argument for more testing – the evidence is showing more and more that non-symptomatic people can have the virus. Second, isn’t it amazing that certain people who are non-symptomatic can get a test quickly based on potential contact whereas other symptomatic people are unable to get tested at all. Third of course is the irony of Paul’s stance on funding,m testing, relief etc.

    I see several of the GOP Senators who had contact with him are declining to self-isolate, preferring mere prayer alone.

    19
  11. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Sure, say what you will about Rand… but his father Ron must feel the ass, after posting this conspiracy theory laden article earlier this month:

    http://ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/march/16/the-coronavirus-hoax/

    But since we know the hardcore right, likely not.

    Fvck those guys.

    21
  12. Stormy Dragon says:

    THE SENATE is now 48 R -47 DSens. Lee, Romney, Scott of Florida, Paul and Gardner are all quarantining.— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) March 22, 2020

    It will be ironic if the “Coronavirus is a Hoax” tactic by Republicans ends up costing them their Senate majority…

    12
  13. Jay L Gischer says:

    Wow, going to the Senate gym while my own family is currently celebrating the end of their first week of sheltering in place. At the least, that’s tone deaf. But it’s also highly irresponsible, and likely to spread the disease to other senators.

    5
  14. Joe says:

    But it’s also highly irresponsible, and likely to spread the disease to other senators.

    In fairness, Jay L Gischer, only to other senators who are going to the gym.

    2
  15. Barry says:

    One of the things which is being proven yet again is that for most of these guys, there is no core of goodness deep down inside.

    They are corrupt to the core. Their ‘ideology’ is ‘loot, pillage and burn’. All else is cover and lies for the marks.

    15
  16. Jen says:

    “This is a different ballgame now,” one Republican senator told CNN.

    Why, why, why is only “different” once one of their own is diagnosed?

    These are really contemptible people.

    Was McConnell around?

    18
  17. DrDaveT says:

    OK, I’ll be the one to say it: I hope he dies.

    That would get at least some Republicans to open their eyes about what is going on, and it would be addition by subtraction to national governance.

    9
  18. Michael Reynolds says:

    @DrDaveT:
    I’ll second that. Dying would increase by 100% the useful things Rand Paul has done.

    Although I’m bad at math. It isn’t possible to increase zero by 100%, is it?

    7
  19. michilines says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Nah, they just blame it on Paul’s neighbor, so no change. And Mitch would probably force the governor to replace him with his (Mitch’s) wife immediately.

  20. Jax says:

    @DrDaveT: And please, for the love of God, tell me he had close, personal contact with McConnell!!

    5
  21. Kari Q says:

    He “feels fine” and was tested from an “abundance of caution” while people who are in need of testing can’t get it? Los Angeles county has given up on even trying to test patients because it can’t get enough kits.

    https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-03-20/coronavirus-county-doctors-containment-testing

    6
  22. Teve says:

    @Jen: Because Republicans don’t seem capable of empathy for anybody they don’t personally know?

    10
  23. LankyLoo says:

    @Michael Reynolds: 100% improvement, and he’s still a zero.

  24. de stijl says:

    Careful with the schadenfreude, folks.

    A lot of us are going to get infected. A lot of us will require hospitalization. A lot of us will need a ventilator to oxygenate. A lot of us will die.

    It isn’t karma; it is biology and math. Really scary math.

    16
  25. Mister Bluster says:

    Senate Democrats block movement on economic stimulus package citing ‘serious issues’ with bill
    Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters after the procedural vote was initially delayed that the legislation initially presented to Democrats had “many, many problems,” saying that it “included a large corporate bailout provision with no protections for workers and virtually no oversight.” Schumer said, however, that “Democrats want to move forward with bipartisan agreement,” adding that the staff-level work is ongoing “to change some problematic provisions” with the legislation.

    2
  26. Tad says:

    It is really hard to drum up sympathy for a medical doctor after behaving the way he has. Fill this under the one person in the senate who should have known better. Looks all that college and residency money was well invested.

    5
  27. Sleeping Dog says:

    @de stijl:

    True, but if Paul passes, Beshear (D) gets to replace him.

    3
  28. Pylon says:

    @Tad: He knew he’d been exposed at an event several days previously and refused to quarantine. His dad calls it a hoax.

    Life’s funny ain’t it?

    9
  29. 95 South says:

    Does it feel strange to be lecturing people on empathy while you’re hoping that someone dies?

    6
  30. gVOR08 says:

    @de stijl:

    It isn’t karma; it is biology and math. Really scary math.

    Yeah. We had a little discussion a day or two ago about headlines saying we’re at a new high while we know we’re looking at exponential growth. A minute ago MSNBC had a banner saying that deaths “increased exponentially” over the weekend. That is sad, but it’s also – duh. And deaths and cases will grow exponentially all week.

    2
  31. de stijl says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Knock it off.

    I get where you are coming from, but knock it the fuck off now. Now is not the time.

    3
  32. MarkedMan says:

    Paul is a particularly nasty piece of work. That altercation with a neighbor mentioned above? Basically, some years back the neighbor asked Paul to trim the bushes that bordered their property. Paul responded but dumping all his yard waste there. Continuously. After years of this, the neighbor finally had enough and removed the waste himself. Paul was ready for him though. He had hidden additional waste elsewhere on his property and as soon as the neighbor went back in his house he dragged it all out and dumped it on the property line again. The neighbor, seeing this from his window, lost it and ran out and tackled Paul so hard he broke ribs. Paul, the whiny little libertarian bitch that he is, proceeded to sue the neighbor for everything he had.

    14
  33. An Interested Party says:

    Why, why, why is only “different” once one of their own is diagnosed?

    Or only when their dear leader acknowledges there is a problem…

    Does it feel strange to be lecturing people on empathy while you’re hoping that someone dies?

    It doesn’t feel strange to feel no empathy for someone who voted against help for this pandemic who then ended up with the pandemic himself…it does feel strange to have empathy for those who have amply illustrated that they have none themselves…

    4
  34. @Jen:

    Why, why, why is only “different” once one of their own is diagnosed?

    Human nature, alas.

    6
  35. KM says:

    @95 South:
    One should ideally not pray an imprecatory prayer, no. And yet the Bible is full of them and millions of people in this country accept that as the literal Word of God. If God can show such a lack of empathy while preaching good ethics, surely you can understand mankind slipping up and savoring the schedenfreude?

    When someone *deliberately* acts in a manner that causes harm to others out of spite / malicious ignorance, hoping karma’s wearing stilettos when she kicks some ass is normal. Paul is supposedly a physician and should know better. His careless, self-centered actions can literally kill his co-workers; in fact, it would be a statistical miracle if it doesn’t considering how many of them are considered at-risk groups. Is it nicer to wish he recovers, only to have to deal with being the one to fatally infect someone he knows? The best case scenario for him is he alone is infected and he recovers fully – how likely is that for someone with his pre-existing health issues, age and defiant disease-spreading actions?

    I do not wish him dead, mostly because I believe people should have to live with the consequences of their mistakes. He gets no empathy from me however since he clearly had none for everyone around him.

    18
  36. 95 South says:

    @KM: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

    1
  37. EddieInCA says:

    These are scary times. Being close to 60 and knowing the math, I fully expect to catch it.

    I catch flu every year. I catch it multiple times, in fact, due to working in Production where we just pass it back and forth for a few months.

    So even though I’m not in production now, and haven’t been since January, I fully expect to catch it no matter how hard I try to avoid it. So far, I don’t think I have it, but there aren’t tests available so I’ll wait until I have even the start of a symptom. I’m taking it seriously to the point of walking through all me “end of life” directions for my wife and sister. All my accounts have paperwork in place for my wife to take them all over. All my passwords to all my accounts are safely on an encrypted key my wife and sister have.

    I expect to get it. I expect it to hit me hard. And I expect to die. Anything short of that will be a win. 🙂

    8
  38. de stijl says:

    A virus doesn’t care how you vote.

    It doesn’t care if you are a good, ethical person, or a shitty scumbag.

    A virus needs a host.

    Is Paul a shitty person? Signs point to yes.

    Did he “deserve” it? God no.

    Viruses do not care about politics or religion or karma.

    They exist to find a host and replicate.

    9
  39. An Interested Party says:

    @95 South: Regarding Rand Paul…

    “But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?”

    “Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.”

    “Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.”

    “For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’”

    “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.”

    We could do this all day if you like…

    21
  40. KM says:

    @95 South:
    Lovely quote – you can google Bible verses. Do forward it to Rand and the GOP along with the one about the log in your own eye, would you? It might offer him comfort in quarantine and remind him to practice what he preaches. If you’re feeling more on point, Romans 6:23 seems darkly appropriate. His arrogant self-righteousness seems to have put the fear of God into conservatives in a way science hasn’t as they realize someone actually following their lies put them in the direct line of fire. He moves in mysterious ways, indeed….

    @Jen:

    Why, why, why is only “different” once one of their own is diagnosed?

    Utter self-preservation. Now it’s *them* that might sicken and die due to the BS they’ve been peddling for weeks. It didn’t matter if we died while they lied; only when someone brings contagion to their doorstep does it matter.

    13
  41. DrDaveT says:

    @95 South:

    Does it feel strange to be lecturing people on empathy while you’re hoping that someone dies?

    No. Because I care about people, and many people’s lives will get better if this contemptible person dies, and few if any will get worse.

    11
  42. de stijl says:

    @de stijl:

    I overstated the freewill of viruses.

    A virus has no will. It just is.

    A virus cannot “want” anything.

    1
  43. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Joe: It seems to me that Senators comprise a population that is far more vulnerable, and far more important to keep isolated and healthy. Our ability to function as a country and respond to this crisis depends on them.

    The virus will survive on surfaces for several hours, so the people exposed are not just those in the gym with him at the time. This was highly irresponsible of him.

    We are all in this together. The virus doesn’t care about our politics. I’m not going to wish anything bad on him, but I really hope this is a wakeup call for some people who are clearly not taking this seriously.

    8
  44. Sleeping Dog says:

    Paul, Romney, Scott, Lee, Gardner, plus McAdams has been hospitalized, these guys all licking the same handrail?

    Kudos to those who are self quarantining.

    3
  45. de stijl says:

    It is more likely than not that we are undertesting as policy. New York is explicitly undertesting to preserve resources.

    The actual number of infected is way higher than reported numbers.

    3
  46. Pylon says:

    Weinstein now diagnosed with coronavirus – probably from Rikers.

    1
  47. PJ says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    I believe Rand has had his tongue up Trump’s donkey.

    1
  48. Dutchgirl says:

    I really think that the senators assumed their wealth, their privilege, their access to exclusive amenities (like the gym) that kept them away from the hoi polloi would keep them safe. As long as they didn’t have contact with the common classes they thought themselves immune. That’s why they are shocked that a virus got through their (imaginary) defenses.

    5
  49. Gustopher says:

    @DrDaveT:

    OK, I’ll be the one to say it: I hope he dies.

    That would get at least some Republicans to open their eyes about what is going on, and it would be addition by subtraction to national governance.

    Conversely, if he has a minor case, he’s going to demonstrate that it’s “just the flu” and that will propagate the refusal to take it seriously.

    I hope he survives, but that it’s really hard. Emotionally hard would be fine. Something strong enough to give him his needed conversion, and to scare enough Fox viewers to make a difference.

    4
  50. SC_Birdflyte says:

    I want him to get very, very sick. Not sick enough to die, but sick enough to remember the experience for the rest of his life. But even that might not change his reptilian mentality.

    3
  51. 95 South says:

    @An Interested Party: @KM: I’m not trying to spam anyone with verses, or read anyone’s souls. On this thread people wished their enemy dead and tried to defend it biblically. I didn’t come back with a quote about a mote in the eye, which is like BSDI but too lazy to define what “it” is. I said love your enemies. This isn’t advice for one thread either. It’s not a coincidence that when Democrats call themselves empathic, half the country hears “sociopathic”.

    1
  52. Argon says:

    I didn’t know earlier that Paul went to the gym while waiting on the results of his test for the virus.

    What a complete ass!

    5
  53. MarkedMan says:

    Yes, technically Paul is a doctor, but he was an ophthalmologist, an eye doctor.

  54. Barry says:

    @PJ: “Obviously he doesn’t seem to care about others, but he should have thought a bit more about himself.

    Not only selfish, but stupid?”

    Back a couple of years ago, there was an Ebola outbreak ~1,500 miles from where it usually happens in Africa. In fact, the doctors simply didn’t recognize it at first, because it had never been seen before.

    One of the countries hit was Nigeria, which has a notoriously corrupt government. There was some speculation that this would help lead to a horrible and large epidemic, because the government would not be able to get its sh*t together, even in the face of a severe threat.

    They actually did.

    So far, the GOP at the federal level have not been *able* to get its sh*t together.
    What puzzles me is that now there are probably several more GOP Senators feeling the cold electoral winds in the backs of their necks who were not feeling that back in January. But even they aren’t taking any visible action. If McConnell has his way, the ‘stimulous’ would be optimized to help the 0.01%, while allowing everybody else to sink into the swamp. In these times, that’s a sure-fire recipe for ‘The Great Depression II: The Greater Depression’.

    2
  55. Kingdaddy says:

    I hope that some of the comments here on the thread, discussing Paul’s death, represent a momentary lapse in judgment. We have all put up with a lot, watching the crimes and misdemeanors committed by some seriously bad people — hucksters, psychopaths, opportunists, zealots, morons, pack animals. Now, all of us — these people, the people who supported them, and everyone else — are reaping the whirlwind.

    I’m feeling the deepest outrage of my life, having seen this crowd grow in numbers and power over decades. I thought they had done their worst, after George W. Bush left office. I had underestimated their stupidity and malice.

    Yesterday, Trump took clear delight at Mitt Romney’s isolation and possible risk of COVID-19 contraction. How is wishing for the death of Rand Paul not just as bad, and possibly worse than that?

    Also, do you want to be the reason somebody points to this forum and says, “See how awful the people on the other side are?”

    Please, re-consider your words.

    12
  56. KM says:

    @95 South:
    Fair enough, love thy enemy is not bad advice. The world needs more love and understanding. However, the phrase “you can *love* your family but not actually *like* them” comes to mind.

    Love thy enemy refers to agape – the universal love and respect one should have for their fellow man. That’s as impersonal and generic and can best be translated into modern jargon as the liberal “tolerance” we get flak for. They deserve basic love and empathy just for being human; otherwise, he just a statistic or the generic Average Joe. Everyone here is speaking of philia – brotherly love aka actually liking the person. Nobody LIKES Paul, not even his fellow Senators. In fact, after this he’s going to be at the top of the Congressional Sh^t List, right below Trump. He doesn’t get the benefits of philia and you don’t get to scold people for not liking the man personally.

    Out of agape, I wish he not suffer the ultimate consequences of his stupidity and would grant him the concern I’m giving all the faceless victims of this mess. From lack of philia due to his odious actions, that SOB had it coming and has no right to expect us to feel sorry for him.

    3
  57. All,

    Paul deserves public criticism for his actions as they relate to the virus as well as for his blithe self-centeredness in being in public while awaiting his test results (since the very act of being tested means you might be infected).

    But wishing him dead, or even seriously ill, is not right.

    Often the denizens here like to say how much better this site is than most web fora. Let’s demonstrate reason and compassion, please.

    10
  58. @Kingdaddy: Well said.

    4
  59. Jen says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Yes, technically Paul is a doctor, but he was an ophthalmologist, an eye doctor.

    Eye doctors, ENT doctors, and dentists are at very high risk to contract the disease according to a wealth of data coming in from countries around the world. That should make him MORE aware, not less.

    2
  60. Michael Reynolds says:

    I have no interest in hearing religious bullshit. There is never a time for superstition.

    Things happen, we react, the reaction did not cause the initial event. Time only moves in the one direction. ‘The gods’ will not punish us for being pleased that a bad man is suffering. Bad men should suffer. That has no bearing at all on our separate reaction to good men suffering.

    A good man dies, sad.
    A bad man dies, happy.

    There is no karma, there is no God, there is no magic, it’s just us and our viruses and I fail to see why we should suppress our appreciation of irony. Laughing at Rand Paul, a fatuous, ignorant, ideologically bizarre, hypocrite and Trump lickspittle, will have zero effect on his health, or the health of anyone here.

    He’s a bad man. This clown has probably infected others, possibly good men and women, and he did it for no reason beyond political grandstanding. Fuck him.

    9
  61. Kingdaddy says:

    @Michael Reynolds: There’s nothing about the New Testament’s quotes about how to treat your enemies that requires a belief in the supernatural to consider seriously. Try this one out for size:

    On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

    5
  62. @Steven L. Taylor: It is sad to see a downvote for a call for reason and compassion. (It is sincerely disheartening).

    9
  63. Kit says:

    Christian or not, in these unfortunate times one would need a heart of stone to imagine Paul hooked up to a respirator and not break into a smile.

    Thoughts and prayers, thoughts and prayers.

    3
  64. James Joyner says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Yes, technically Paul is a doctor, but he was an ophthalmologist, an eye doctor.

    Ophthalmologists, unlike optometrists, are actual medical doctors who graduate medical school and then a subsequent residency specializing in eye surgery.

    4
  65. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Kingdaddy:

    “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

    No, it doesn’t require superstition, just a willing suspension of disbelief as regards human behavior. Helping enemies does not heap burning coals on their heads unless you imagine your enemies share your sense of right and wrong, of human decency. Of course if that were true they wouldn’t be your enemies to begin with, would they?

    We helped the USSR a great deal during WW2, how much affection did that earn us from Stalin? We tried to help Somalia, how’d that work out? I’m not arguing that we shouldn’t do all we can to live up to our own moral standards – we should help those in need. But in this case there are likely to be more in need because of this one egomaniac. So, again: fuck him.

    2
  66. Kit says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I didn’t down vote you, Steven, but I didn’t really agree either. In our ordinary lives, we try to do what good we can, although we rarely make a difference on a global or historical scale. But a man like Paul does move the needle. Were he filled with good intentions but mistaken, we would be right to feel a bit of sympathy for this man who left the world so much worse than he found it. But to show sympathy for a malefactor like Paul? Sympathy thrown his way is an insult to the countless people who would have lived better had he never drawn breath. Of the 108 billion people who have been born (thank you, Google), how many have been greater enemies to mankind than Paul? 100k? 10k? Not Hall of Fame worthy, but he’s put up some big numbers.

    1
  67. @Kit: I asked for compassion and reason, which strikes me as reasonable. I am not necessarily asking anyone to sympathize with Paul. I am asking not to wish extreme suffering or death on him.

    If we are really at the point wherein it is acceptable to wish suffering and/or death on a domestic political opponent, democracy is basically dead (and I really mean that–a major rationale behind democratic governance is to find a way to settle disputes, even deeply held ones, without resorting to violence).

    Beyond that, if we want to reduce this to utilitarian discussions, how is the world does one expect to come across as a rational alternative to Trumpism (or to Rand or whomever) if one is wishing death and destruction in this way?

    I am trying not to overly moralize or to wax too philosophical in a fragmented, comment section discussion, but I honestly find this insistence that it is okay to wish suffering and death on Paul to be disquieting. Indeed, I think it is wrong.

    8
  68. If we are going to be starkly utilitarian: sure, folks, wish death on your political enemies and then don’t be shocked when they don’t want to listen to facts and reason. Let’s just self-segment into our tribes and throw hate at one another. That has always led to awesome outcomes in the annals of human history.

    8
  69. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    If we are going to be starkly utilitarian: sure, folks, wish death on your political enemies and then don’t be shocked when they don’t want to listen to facts and reason.

    I’d be shocked, Steven, if they ever listened to facts and reason. We are where we are precisely because they refuse to listen to facts and reason, they are still refusing to listen to facts and reason, and they will go right on refusing to listen to facts and reason because this is not politics in the usual sense, this is an existential battle between two distinctly different world views and they cannot listen to fact or reason, because facts and reason are on our side. Facts and reason are death to them.

    Contra what our mommies told us it does not take two to start a fight, just one.

    Let me pose a very Godwin’s theoretical. It’s Berlin, April 30, 1945. You’re standing outside Hitler’s bunker when he comes out with Eva. He shoots Eva in the head, then sticks the barrel of the gun in his mouth.

    Do you cry out, “No!” or do you enjoy a satisfied chuckle when the back of his head blows off?

    Never speak ill of the dead is superstition. It can certainly be kindness under many circumstances, but as a broad statement it relies on superstitious beliefs. I was thrilled when I learned Osama Bin Laden was dead. I happened to be at a grocery store and I raced home with Champagne. We toasted the SEALS and wished hell was real.

    4
  70. @Michael Reynolds: To be direct, you have a habit of making “they” do a lot of work in these conversations. Yes, a lot of folks are not going to change their minds no matter what. But if we here at the site (or whatever version of “we” one wishes to deploy) want to be the rational ones, then we have to behave rationally. It is one thing for someone to reject engaging because they wish to quit reason; it is yet another for us to preemptively allow them to dismiss reason because we are over here calling for death and suffering on a domestic political opponent.

    Rand Paul is neither Hitler nor Bin Laden, and I am not sure how even using those folks as examples is helpful in the least.

    7
  71. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    “They” still have just as much support for Trump, which is to say just as much support for denial of facts and reason, as they did a month ago. There is as yet zero evidence to suggest that they are learning anything at all. Democrats have spent decades being the party of kindness and sweet reason and following the rules, and what that has thus far earned us is a racist, fascist blowback of such intensity that we now worry about he very survival of American democracy.

    Rand Paul is neither Hitler nor Bin Laden, and I am not sure how even using those folks as examples is helpful in the least.

    The examples are useful in judging the consistency of the argument that we should not wish ill on our enemies. No, Paul is not Hitler, nor Bin Laden, but my question is just what level of evil is required to justify wishing ill on someone? Because you could advance the principle that we must always wish well on everyone, regardless of their actions, but if you can find exceptions (Hitler, Stalin, Mao) then the principle isn’t really a principle, is it?

    Failing that Christ-like level of kindness-toward-all, we are quickly down to gauging the level at which schadenfreude is morally justifiable. Do you know how to set that level? Weinstein’s got the virus, are we hoping he recovers, or are we not really giving a damn?

    2
  72. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: Isn’t there also something about a self-constructed board certification test back in his murky past somewhere? I also find myself wondering where, if anywhere he actually practiced as an opthamologist as opposed to a dispensing optician.

    1
  73. @Michael Reynolds: There is a profound space between schadenfreudea and wishing suffering and/or death.

    I am arguing in favor of what I do not think is an overly harsh perspective: that wishing suffering and/or death on a domestic political opponent is not appropriate, nor is it morally justifiable.

    Further, I think that it is counter-productive.

    2
  74. Kit says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    we are over here calling for death and suffering on a domestic political opponent.

    No one is calling for his death. No one is asking who will rid us of this troublesome man. I personally do not believe in the death penalty, yet I shed no tears when some monster is executed. But am I now to actively sympathize when Paul, a man who has done far more harm than any man on Death Row, might just die from his own stupidity? What does it say about your value to society when your death might well bring more good, far more good, than your life ever did?

    As @Michael Reynolds said, rationality has long since abandoned the American Right. When is the last time that you thought that reason was driving Republican policy? Look where we are today! If I had foretold the future on the day that Trump was elected, would you have said that we just need to be more rational because Republicans are winning all the arguments, we just need to love more because our hard hearts are alienating the good will emanating from the the Republican base?

    I think people need to be more angry if we are to change direction. That’s a dangerous game, I admit, but these are dangerous times. Or do you not see it?

    2
  75. @Kit:

    No one is calling for his death.

    I would point you to DrDaveT:

    OK, I’ll be the one to say it: I hope he dies.

    And then @Michael Reynolds:

    I’ll second that. Dying would increase by 100% the useful things Rand Paul has done.

    And

    @SC_Birdflyte:

    I want him to get very, very sick. Not sick enough to die, but sick enough to remember the experience for the rest of his life. But even that might not change his reptilian mentality.

    These types of comments are what I am specifically responding to.

    7
  76. @Kit:

    rationality has long since abandoned the American Right. When is the last time that you thought that reason was driving Republican policy? Look where we are today!

    I am trying to warn the American Left (or anyone who will listen) that further abandoning rationality is not a good idea.

    5
  77. Kingdaddy says:

    @Kit:

    I think people need to be more angry if we are to change direction. That’s a dangerous game, I admit, but these are dangerous times. Or do you not see it?

    No, I don’t think we need to be more angry. We’re already an angry country. We’re marinated in anger. It’s getting us nowhere. We watched Rachel Maddow last night get angry at the botched federal response to the coronavirus. Where did her anger get her? Or me? I know it’s botched. I want to know more about what’s happening, and what to do about it.

    We need clarity, realism, and resolve. Not more anger. Anger is just sterile excitation. Makes you feel good in a little while, especially when you’re powerless. That’s one reason why many Trump supporters are angry all the time. They’re drunk on it.

    Yes, I’m pissed off at the Trump supporters who continue to make excuses for their favorite carnival barker. I’m realistic about the obstacle they represent. I know that good intentions are not going to sway them. I could rage at their self-deluding, self-defeating op-eds, tweets, and Facebook postings. What good is it going to do?

    Instead, we need to figure out ways to do one or all of the following:

    Limit the damage that the Current Occupant can do.
    Erode his sources of power.
    Get him out of that office.

    That’s all that matters.

    9
  78. Kit says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I would point you…

    That’s not the definition that my dictionary uses. Calling for something is distinct from wishing for it. Is anyone here claiming that he would support another person taking an active role to end Paul’s life?

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I am trying to warn the American Left (or anyone who will listen) that further abandoning rationality is not a good idea.

    At a strict minimum, Democrats need to fire up the base. And the base is not fired up by ideas. Ask Warren about that.

    1
  79. Kingdaddy says:

    When I was in grad school, I was having dinner with a professor and his wife, who said, “I wish Meir Kahane were dead.” She was an Israeli, and Kahane was a particularly odious far-right political figure who was poisoning Israeli politics. Here’s the exchange that followed between the professor and his wife (paraphrased, obviously).

    He: You say that a lot. Do you really want him dead?

    She: Yes, I do. It would solve a lot of problems. He’s a monster, he’s causing all kinds of harm.

    He: Then why don’t you kill him?

    None of us at dinner, fortunately, were pro-assassination. But it was worth having the conversation. And someone did assassinate Kahane, a couple of years after this conversation.

    3
  80. @Kit:

    That’s not the definition that my dictionary uses. Calling for something is distinct from wishing for it. Is anyone here claiming that he would support another person taking an active role to end Paul’s life?

    This strikes me as an overly parsed way of looking at this conversation.

    I am comfortable saying that if you want to go back and search-and-replace “calling” with “wishing” in my comments, I would not change anything nor do I think it changed the moral calculus I am trying to assert.

    I don’t think it is neither healthy nor moral to wish for Rand Paul to die from Covid-19.

    7
  81. de stijl says:

    @Kingdaddy:

    Hear you, brother.

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Thank you. It is really saddening we needed a course correction. Thanks for stepping in. I appreciate a hot take, but now is not the time to air grievances.

    3
  82. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    a domestic political opponent

    You still think this is politics. It’s only politics if you assume this all works out in the end. What if this turns out to be 1860? What if this is 1939?

    People in this country die because of Paul’s kind of ‘politics.’ Not prosperous white men like yourself, but homeless people, poor people, black people, Hispanic people, gay and trans people. To take an easy example, this administration, and the Republican Party, have wantonly shattered thousands of migrant families with deliberately cruel policies. If you had braved the Sonoran desert in a desperate bid for life, and then been forced to stand weeping helplessly as your terrified child was taken from you, caged, mistreated and literally lost by an indifferent system, would you be thinking ‘thoughts and prayers’ on the perpetrators? Or might you be thinking, fuck ’em?

    Paul voted against emergency medical help for sick people. He used what power he had to try and ensure that sick people were abandoned by their country. Do I think that merits the death penalty? No. Am I going to laugh if he gets sick and dies? Absolutely. Evil deeds do not stop being evil just because we label them ‘politics.’

    6
  83. Kit says:

    @Kingdaddy:

    No, I don’t think we need to be more angry. We’re already an angry country. We’re marinated in anger. It’s getting us nowhere.

    You might not have noticed, but this has been the Republican strategy for a couple of decades and it is paying handsome dividends for them. I’m tired of winning all the arguments and losing all the rest. Look where we are today, with Trump still a strong possibility of winning reelection, and tell me that we just need stronger arguments. If the Left cannot tap into some of this anger now, then we are toast.

  84. @Michael Reynolds:

    You still think this is politics. It’s only politics if you assume this all works out in the end.

    I have no earthly idea why you think I would think that. For example, a huge chunk of my life’s work is studying the politics of Colombia.

    And, really, do you not think, after reading what I have written here for years that I do not understand what you are describing?

    But fine, let’s wish for the deaths of our political opponents. And we can all sit around and congratulate ourselves on how liberal we are.

    4
  85. @Steven L. Taylor: BTW: the politics of Colombia are instructive. A great deal of the problems in Colombia is the degree to which anger and revenge have become multi-generational aspects of basic politics. It is an utterly tragic set of outcomes.

    9
  86. @Kit:

    If the Left cannot tap into some of this anger now, then we are toast.

    Use it to motivate turnout.

    Wishing for Rand Paul to suffer for his sins will not fix anything.

    8
  87. de stijl says:

    Rand Paul is not my cup of tea. We disagree on basically everything.

    I want him to be healthy, happy, and safe. It is not helpful, at all, to wish for his discomfort.

    Holy fucking crap! What are you people thinking?!

    2
  88. gVOR08 says:

    According to WIKI Paul was certified in the normal way by the American Board of Ophthalmology. They changed from lifetime certification to 10 year recertification. In response Paul established the National Board of Ophthalmology. It certified a small number of people, although not recognized by other med organizations and has now folded. So the NBO no longer exists and his ABO cert should have expired. So I guess he’s not certified. Which does not matter to Little Randy as KY does not require certification (say what?).

    The whole exercise seems to amount to a libertarian snowflake not getting everything his way. But you’d think somewhere a textbook would have mentioned the germ theory of disease. There are even viral infections of the eye.

  89. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    “War is the remedy that our enemies have chosen, and I say let us give them
    all they want.” – Tecumseh Sherman.

    One side is at war, and @de stijl: @Kingdaddy: , both guys I respect, are calling for kumbaya. No. No kumbaya. When we’ve won, when our democracy and the rule of law are secure again, we can sing around the campfire.

    3
  90. de stijl says:

    People you like and identify with will get sick. Many of us will get sick. Some of us will die.

    There have been disgusting comments shared here today. I am ashamed.

    This is not an “opportunity” to settle scores.

    3
  91. de stijl says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Please leave me out of your really bad take.

    Generally, we are simpatico. In this, no.

  92. Kit says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I would not change anything nor do I think it changed the moral calculus I am trying to assert.

    My moral calculus is that a bad man in a position of power is a moral evil that far outweighs the mildly perverse pleasure that we ordinarily should not feel at the thought of someone’s death. Yes, it is a moral question. But we will not get to the bottom of it down here.

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Wishing for Rand Paul to suffer for his sins will not fix anything.

    How can you be so sure? Is it a priori impossible that his suffering could either save lives by making people pay more attention to the current health crisis, or to turn against the Republican party?

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    BTW: the politics of Colombia are instructive. A great deal of the problems in Colombia is the degree to which anger and revenge have become multi-generational aspects of basic politics. It is an utterly tragic set of outcomes.

    I can certainly believe that past a certain point, there is no turning back and democracy is lost. But I see no signs that we are on the road back to sanity, or even just holding the line. While I have great respect for you, it seems that all you can recommend is the equivalent of thought and prayers.

  93. gVOR08 says:

    I refrained from making any of the snarky comments that inevitably come to mind, feeling it ungraceful. And likely redundant. But this touches on something that comes up every time OTB has a post about some establishment asshat passing. There’s always a call for speaking respectfully. There’s alway a lot of hagiography in the press. But this idea that respect should be automatic, even toward self absorbed, destructive asshats is maybe one reason we have so many self absorbed, destructive asshats in public life.

    I’ll go along with not wishing for death or suffering, at least in public. I may, however, observe, when true, that the world would be better off without some individuals. Can I say?

    Senator Paul, you self absorbed, sociopathic ass, get well soon. Thoughts and prayers.

    3
  94. Kingdaddy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    You might have missed my long comment from a couple of days ago in which I said that there was a decent probability that Trump will need to be removed through extra-Constitutional means, given the danger he poses to the country. I would hardly call that a “kumbaya” view of the world. I would just like to find a way short of wrecking our political system to achieve that end.

    3
  95. DrDaveT says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I would point you to DrDaveT:

    Surely you understand the difference between “I hope he dies” versus “I wish to kill him” or “I call on some right-thinking person to kill him”? No?

    In no sense did I call for his death.

    1
  96. KM says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    My problem with people asking for compassion for Paul other then generic concern for him as a human being is that it’s the same line of thinking as asking a domestic violence victim to forgive their abuser because “it’s the right thing to do”. You can’t force this nor shame into existence.
    Expecting someone to have warm fuzzies for an unapologetic, malicious soul who’s done deliberate harm and has no intention of stopping because of ideals is a lot to ask of a soul. Not generic “thoughts and prayers” but specific concern for this man. Paul’s not apologized for his behavior or the ignorance that’s put others at risk. He’s only in quarantine because he has to be; if you gave him the option, he’d still be out running around, spreading disease all over because he feels fine.

    The social pressure to “be nice” because he’s sick due to his own actions has zero to do with whether he actually deserves it or has even earned it. There’s something slightly coercive about insisting people grant empathy to someone who will not return the favor. Be the bigger person, put aside the injustice of it and give them what they’d never, ever give you. There’s a reason we say forgiveness is divine. It’s asking a lot of a person, something that everyone cannot or will not be willing to give. It needs to be their choice – trying to shame someone into compassion doesn’t work. Anything insincere or expressed because it’s expected of them is nothing more then empty “thoughts and prayers”.

    I find I cannot wish him well. I do not wish him ill either, only the consequences of his actions and whatever grace the Lord sees fit to show him. Anything else is between him and COVID-19, just as any moral imperfections this exposes is between me and God.

    6
  97. de stijl says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    People I thought I knew well and trusted let me down today.

    3
  98. 95 South says:

    There’s an episode of The Office where Michael kidnaps the pizza delivery guy, and it doesn’t occur to him that he’s done anything wrong. Dwight realizes it’s a kidnapping and goes along with it because he’s fundamentally evil. At a certain point, Dwight is trying to intimidate his captive, and you see the moment Michael understands everything. That’s the tone in Steven L. Taylor’s replies to Michael Reynolds today, and I hope in a lot of commenters’ heads. Of course you’re the heroes because you’re so empathic, but if you’re so hateful…(eyes open)…you’re not the heroes!

    1
  99. @Kit:

    it seems that all you can recommend is the equivalent of thought and prayers.

    This is grossly unfair and is not what I have been saying.

    1
  100. @Michael Reynolds:

    are calling for kumbaya.

    Pointing out the problems with wishing others to die or suffer is not asking for kumbaya.

    Come now, Michael, you are an author and an intelligent man–these false dichotomies are not fair nor are they accurate.

    4
  101. @DrDaveT: You said “I hope he dies” and I am criticizing that sentiment.

    The fact that we are hairs-splitting “calling for” v. “wishing” v. “I wish to kill him” is a bit much.

    In no sense did I call for his death.

    I am sincerely confused, as above you stated “I hope he dies.”

    3
  102. @KM:

    My problem with people asking for compassion for Paul other then generic concern for him as a human being is that it’s the same line of thinking as asking a domestic violence victim to forgive their abuser because “it’s the right thing to do”

    That is utter bullshit.

    I am stating, rather clearly, the moral problem with wishing suffering on someone with a viral infection. It strikes me as appropriate human compassion to hope that he doesn’t suffer.

    That we are having this conversation is more than a little depressing.

    6
  103. @KM:

    Expecting someone to have warm fuzzies

    I have not asked for warm fuzzies. I have decried hoping he suffers and/or dies.

    2
  104. @KM:

    The social pressure to “be nice” because he’s sick due to his own actions has zero to do with whether he actually deserves it or has even earned it.

    I have not asked for anyone here to be nice to him. I have decried hoping he suffers and/or dies.

    I have noted that he deserves public criticism, in fact. I don’t disagree with James: Rand was a moron for going out in public while he was waiting for his results. I never said he doesn’t deserve opprobrium.

    3
  105. de stijl says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    How did things get this weird? 99 times out of a hundred I like whatever Reynolds peddles. The world has changed and I don’t like it.

    2
  106. de stijl says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Rand Paul deserves care and compassion. That that is disputed shocks me.

    It is really frustrating.

    If people are this off balance something has gone horribly wrong.

    Embrace decency.

    3
  107. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @DrDaveT: Yeah. And putting pictures of members of Congress in crosshairs wasn’t calling for anybody’s death either. Sarah Palin even said so.

    Okay boomer.

    1
  108. de stijl says:

    A virus does not care. You are a host, a body that can replicate a lot of copies quickly.

  109. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Q: How did things get this weird?

    A: “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”

    [Apologies to Walt Kelly, may he rest in peace.]

    2
  110. Kit says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I am sincerely confused, as above you stated “I hope he dies.”

    I’m happy to admit that arguing about the meaning of a word is getting away from the point, but I’ll get away from the point for this one post.

    How would you fell if Trump were to read one of your posts and have him say: I hope Steven dies!

    What if he were to say: I’m calling for the death of Steven.

    Don’t you hear the difference?

    In any case, I think we have run this particular topic into the ground. I feel comfortable with the side I’m on.

  111. KM says:

    @Steven L. Taylor :
    Because I don’t think we’re having the same conversation. You are speaking in terms of ideals and social morals and how things should be; I’m speaking in terms of someone’s who been told to their face I’m not a good person because I wouldn’t publicly absolve an abuser. There is absolutely a social pressure on people to not speak ill of the dead and damned and it puts a toll on someone to be told they’re not “empathetic” enough to care about a monster feeling karma’s embrace.

    I’ve repeatedly stated I *don’t* wish him suffering nor do I wish him ill. At my most negative, I’ve wished him that which he caused to happen to himself. That’s a neutral statement in and of itself. If you are reading a wish to suffer in that, that’s a connotation unintended. Apparently though that’s not sufficient and I need to express positive affirmation. That’s what I meant about a coercive element – I’m not “compassionate” enough because I’m not making the socially appropriate noises. I can’t be honest about how I’m feeling as it’s not “proper”. As @gVOR08 noted, we’re expected to have this sort of deferential attitude towards terrible people once bad things happen to them and that’s a contributing factor to why they get away with it. When did honesty stop being a virtue?

    I’ve not judged you but I’m a bit upset you seem to be judging me. You may not be “asking us to be nice to him” but you are challenging those that aren’t meeting your criteria for respect. It’s not like we’re FOX, Steven – we’ve been polite and relatively kind even when not liking the man.

    1
  112. BTW, among the reasons I brought up Colombia above is that they once fought a civil war (with the catchy name of “The Violence”) totally along party lines. It was the Liberals v. the Conservatives and one was basically born into one’s party identification. La Violencia started with the murder of a prominent politician in 1948 and eventually resulted in a military coup in 1953. Hundreds of thousands died and much of that partisan violence evolved into the guerrilla violence of the 1960s. Violent politics also emerged around drug cartels and paramilitary groups.

    There are, therefore, multigenerational political calculi linked to murder and kidnappings, theft of land, etc.

    One leftist party, the Patriotic Union, was basically assassinated out of existence in the late 1980s/early 1990s.

    Of course, the 19th century was marked by numerous civil wars focused, largely, on which constitution ought to be in place.

    So, yes, I have no illusions about something being political meaning rainbows and kumbaya.

    4
  113. @Kit: I see the difference as you presented it, yes.

    My basic counter is, as noted above, I have really been arguing against the “wish” statement.

    2
  114. de stijl says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    How today passed was really distressing.

    A lot of people I like made really bad choices today.

  115. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @KM: I don’t truly wish him ill. I wish he’d learn not to be a self-centered cloaca maxima. But he’s approaching 60, IIRC, and his learning potential is limited. In the words of Poor Richard’s Almanac, “Experience keeps a dear school, but a fool will learn in no other.”

    3
  116. Kingdaddy says:

    @Kit:

    How would you fell if Trump were to read one of your posts and have him say: I hope Steven dies!

    What if he were to say: I’m calling for the death of Steven.

    Don’t you hear the difference?

    There’s a difference, but both would be horrible to hear.

    2
  117. MarkedMan says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Note: I don’t really know how I feel about this whole conversation, and could just as easily wind up on Steven’s side as Michael’s. That said…

    Rand Paul is neither Hitler nor Bin Laden, and I am not sure how even using those folks as examples is helpful in the least.

    Rand Paul is not as powerful as Hitler or Bin Laden was, but I am not at all sure that he’s not as odious in his impotent way. Remember, he and his whack job Daddy made hundreds of thousands of dollars off a news letter that regularly dehumanized minorities, referring to African Americans and other dark skinned people as “mud people” and questioning whether they had the mental capacity to ever be civilized*.

    When you think about how many willing concentration camp guards the Nazis recruited, you have to know that some of our fellow citizens here would be equally willing to round up their despised group and execute them. Given the Paul father and son history, I would easily believe they would be among that group.

    * I always find it ironic that these particular white people question whether others can be civilized. After all theirs is a culture that until the 1950’s were leaving their churches on a Sunday morning and bringing their families to a picnic lunch at the local town square to cheer and laugh as some hapless soul was tortured to death in front of them, and then paid photographers to make postcards from the results to send to their relatives.

    1
  118. MarkedMan says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Well, according to Wiki he’s paid out in at least two malpractice suits, so I assume he was practicing somewhere.

  119. MarkedMan says:

    OK, so now I do know how I feel about this. I don’t wish that Paul dies or suffers. I do wish that he would go away. If he ends up going away because he dies of this, so be it. I’ll be glad he’s no longer a factor. I won’t be glad he dies.

    Steven’s example of Columbia is a good one. Abandonment of the principles really is a slippery slope. Descent into anger and justification eventually leads to the same bad place, regardless of the righteousness of your initial anger.

    4
  120. @KM:

    I’m a bit upset you seem to be judging me.

    I found you equating what I am saying to the notion of telling an abuse victim to forgive the abuser to be highly problematic. Beyond that, I am not sure I addressed anything you said upthread.

    I’ve repeatedly stated I *don’t* wish him suffering nor do I wish him ill.

    As such, we are in agreement.

    we’re expected to have this sort of deferential attitude towards terrible people once bad things happen to them and that’s a contributing factor to why they get away with it. When did honesty stop being a virtue?

    I have noted several times that I have no problem with criticizing him. All I have asked is that we not wish suffering or death. I really am a bit amazed this is considered to be some radical position.

    4
  121. de stijl says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I am beyond frustrated. What the hell just happened?

  122. MarkedMan says:

    Years ago I came across a Robert Louis Stevenson short story, “Markheim”, that spoke of the ways in which we can ever more give into our baser instincts yet retain a belief that we are good at our core. Although the language is quite dated, it is worth a read. One passage in particular:

    But the visitant raised his finger. “For six-and-thirty years that you have been in this world,” said he, “through many changes of fortune and varieties of humour, I have watched you steadily fall. Fifteen years ago you would have started at a theft. Three years back you would have blenched at the name of murder. Is there any crime, is there any cruelty or meanness, from which you still recoil? – five years from now I shall detect you in the fact! Downward, downward, lies your way; nor can anything but death avail to stop you.”

    “It is true,” Markheim said huskily, “I have in some degree complied with evil. But it is so with all: the very saints, in the mere exercise of living, grow less dainty, and take on the tone of their surroundings.”

    2
  123. Jim Brown 32 says:

    Paul is not the problem. There are millions of people like him in America. If there were millions of reasonable people being held back by Paul…it might be useful to wish he were out of the way. Paul is there, because the majority of Kentucky residents AGREE with him.

    There are only 2 tools in the kit bag to deal with this. Persuasion or Compulsion. Attitude and tone are vital for the former and not required for the latter. If you believe in the former, it would make sense to show Paul the minimal amount of respect to not alienate the millions of people you’d like to persuade at some point in the future who now identify with Paul. I dont wish anything about him. Strong feelings about him overestimate his actual importance. He’s a nobody riding a larger wave of mass delusion.

    I dont like Bernie Sanders, but his local brand of politics will be the only way Democrats can claw back a foothold in these Red States. That’s not going to happen today or next year…but, if there is an interest in preserving the system from tribalism…its the only way. And it will take time.

    I spent a short amount of time on a street evangelism team at a church I belonged to. You’d be surprised at how much traction you can get with people if you speak to them face to face and are a little more prepared than they are to counter their initial defenses–even “atheists” who are more often than not actually just anti-anthropomorphic.

    Religion and Politics are similar hustles–slightly different currencies. This thread is the reason I say that Liberals and Conservatives are really the same type of people.

    5
  124. @de stijl: I am not sure I am an explanation save, from my POV, some disagreement over how far it is appropriate to take rhetoric in the context of political opposition.

    1
  125. de stijl says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Today was certainly illustrative.

  126. An Interested Party says:

    I would just like to find a way short of wrecking our political system to achieve that end.

    It would seem that our political system is already wrecked, no?

    How did things get this weird? 99 times out of a hundred I like whatever Reynolds peddles. The world has changed and I don’t like it.

    That question should have been asked when Trump won the 2016 election…yes, the world has turned completely upside down and everything is a complete mess…this is not new…

    This thread is the reason I say that Liberals and Conservatives are really the same type of people.

    And if you aren’t one of these people, what are you?

  127. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    What a sad thread. Keep fighting the good fight Stephen.

    Once it becomes a battle of good vs evil, anything and everything is justified. This pretty much explains what the Republican party has devolved into the last few decades. “The ends justifies the means” is probably the most subtly and seductive immoral statement ever made, used to justify almost grotesque amounts of evil.

    I can’t remember who pointed out that a regular failing of humanity is becoming what we hate. I’ll try and stick to Obama’s high road, no matter how low they go.

    As for Paul, I try not to think about him. He’s an idiot, for sure, and thanks to his politics I don’t have any actual sympathy for him at all. Hell, I’d be lying if I hadn’t cynically thought that this whole thing may end up as a fine example of Darwin’s law weeding out the dumber in our electorate. But I’m not going to wish or hope anyone dies or suffers, if for no other reason than the virus doesn’t care, and I don’t want someone gloating about my death when I get sick.

    7
  128. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @An Interested Party: If you’re like most….Tired of watching two groups of nutcases destroy the country.

    3
  129. @An Interested Party:

    It would seem that our political system is already wrecked, no?

    It has been damaged, and it has a number of inherent design flaws, but we are not yet to wrecked. Wrecked is far, far worse than this.

    4
  130. An Interested Party says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Fair enough…we do seem to be moving towards that wrecked stage, yes? And the current president is definitely helping that process along…

    1
  131. Teve says:

    For the record, whatever happens to Paul, it isn’t “Darwinism” because he’s already reproduced. Selection is something that changes the reproduction numbers.

  132. Monala says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: thank you, Steven. I work in human services, and a lot of my clients are elderly white people. I have to make home visits to check on them, and often when I do, they are watching Fox News and ranting about liberals and immigrants and black people.

    Then I start talking to them, and they are often kind and pleasant to me as a black woman when away from the Fox News talking point of the day. They are also human beings in need, due to poverty, illness and isolation, so I have to look at those aspects of them and ignore the parts I don’t like.

    Of course, these folks don’t have the power to harm people that Rand Paul has, but some of the ugly things they believe, and yet their basic humanity and need underneath it all, are the same.

    3
  133. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @Just Another Ex-Republican:

    What a sad thread. Keep fighting the good fight Stephen.

    Wow… ya go away for an afternoon, and you miss the site going nuclear. OK, maybe just a field tactical nuke, but one nonetheless.

    Reading through this, we have:
    1) The high road and suggestions of mercy and sympathy
    2) Folks saying “get real” and defend the comments based on actions of teh individual.

    So: as a person in the corporate world (hence the name), I have sat in several rooms that the term “lib hunting season” had come up, usually after discussions of open carry and high capacity magazines. Nice, no. Would I step up and challenge them? Hate to say it, I like my salary and benefits.

    So, this is the thing that we have seen:
    1) In this crisis, it’s been “libs” (Democratic Governors) that have stood up and provided real leadership.
    2) We have seen that generally Democrats can run government better, and since Reagan the Republicans have intentionally chosen not to try to.

    So, when it comes down to it, Democrats are Charley Brown to Republican Lucy yanking away the ball.

    Play fair. Be nice, take the high road.

    That worked really well for Humphrey, McGovern, Mondale, Dukakis and Gore, right?

    Do you think that will work in November 2020?

    From my perspective, Rand is a statistic, albeit a useful one. That’s all.

    4
  134. Liberal Capitalist says:

    OK… so late in the conversation this story, I may revisit this in tomorrow’s open forum…

    To touch on the Charlie Brown / Lucy analogy: We are fretting whether is is impolitic to wish that life gives Rand the swift kick in the ass he likely deserves.

    Because we just keep trusting Lucy with her ball…

    Meet today’s Lucy:

    The Republican Governor of Texas just said on Fox News that risking Grandparents dying to ensure that the economy continues for the grand-kids is okey-dokey with him (and he’s 78, so he’s all-in!)

    As the coronavirus outbreak batters the economy and businesses close, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said Monday that plenty of seniors would be willing to sacrifice their lives in order to preserve the economy for their grandchildren.

    (source) (‘nother source, with more appalling quotes and video)

    Best comment:

    GOP: 2008: “Evil Democrats want to create death panels to kill your grandma!”

    GOP 2020: “Evil Democrats refuse to create death panels to kill your grandma!”

    So… Tell me again: how impolitic are we?

    5
  135. An Interested Party says:

    The Republican Governor of Texas just said on Fox News that risking Grandparents dying to ensure that the economy continues for the grand-kids is okey-dokey with him (and he’s 78, so he’s all-in!)

    Fucking ghouls…these assholes make Ebenezer Scrooge (before he was visited by spectral overnight guests) seem quite generous by comparison…

    1
  136. EddieInCA says:

    Very late to the conversation.

    When news came out that Rush Limbaugh was diagnosed with cancer, I posted something like “I didn’t say nice things about him in the past, and I’m not going to start saying nice things now just because he’s dying. Fvck him. He was an asshole. He is and asshole. He will be an asshole.”

    I feel the same way about Rand Paul (sorry, Dr. Taylor). If he passes, I’m not going to shed a tear, and, like with Limbaugh, I’ll probably pull out the bottle of Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve (20 yr) and enjoy a nice pull, neat.

    1
  137. Gustopher says:

    With the president minimizing the danger of covid19, and recommending quack cures that kill people… things aren’t going to change until there is a prominent Republican death. Someone who has appeared on FoxNews countless times.

    I wish that wasn’t the case.

    I don’t care which prominent Republican, and it’s bound to happen sooner than later, and I would rather it happen sooner, so more lives can be saved.

    3
  138. @EddieInCA:

    If he passes, I’m not going to shed a tear, and, like with Limbaugh,

    There is a difference, and a rather important one, to be made between wishing someone would die or suffer v. stating that one would not mourn a death.

    I never asked anyone to mourn. I asked them not to actively and publicly wish for death and/or suffering.

    1
  139. @Gustopher:

    things aren’t going to change until there is a prominent Republican death. Someone who has appeared on FoxNews countless times.

    Let’s stipulate that this is true for the sake of argument (and you may be correct).

    At an even more general level, I think people will start taking this seriously when the dying becomes more evident, regardless of who dies. (Indeed, one could argue that if a really prominent person died, say, Tom Brady or Tom Hanks, that that would be even more efficacious in terms of grabbing the national attention than a prominent Republican).

    Making this general observation, however, is worlds of difference from wishing a specific person to die and/or suffer. In fact, observing that more deaths may well be what it takes to capture the national attention is simply an observation about assumed human behavior in the context of probabilities. It is not wishing for those deaths.

    Indeed, it is my wish, if wishing is the appropriate action, that all of this is really nothing and no one need suffer or die from it.

    Or, knowing that that wish is unlikely to come to pass, I can only wish that the governors all do a collective better job of leading than the President is doing.

    1
  140. @Liberal Capitalist:

    So… Tell me again: how impolitic are we?

    You want to point out that the Trump administration’s approach to this has led to deaths and that his current direction is likely to lead to more, have at. I will be right their with you.

    2
  141. flat earth luddite says:

    @Jay L Gischer:
    Well, that’s one way to avoid having to vote on anything for the next 2-10 months…

  142. EddieInCA says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I understand your point, but I see it as a distinction without a difference. I’m going to celebrate the hell out of Rush and Paul passing. I’m not going to wish it on them, but I’m going celebrate with a shot of a $1000 bottle of burbon (it was a gift. I’d never spend that on booze. But, damn, it’s good.)

    You’re a better human than I am. I know it’s bad to celebrate someone’s death, but I do it surprisingly often.

    1