Kentucky–Electing Even Worse People Than Indiana

I’ve been pretty hard on my home state of Indiana, for many good reasons. (We elected Pious Pence, and subsequently loosed him on the nation; our Attorney General is a pandering snowflake with delusions of grandeur; and our Statehouse is home to multiple gun nuts and culture warriors untethered to anything resembling intelligence.)

But you have to give props to our neighboring state of  Kentucky. Not only is Mitch McConnell the runaway winner of the “most evil man in American government” designation, Kentucky’s junior Senator–Rand Paul–keeps reminding us that we shouldn’t count him out when the awards for “most slimy” are announced.

Anyone who follows the news even slightly knows that Paul has spent a lot of time attacking epidemiology in general and Anthony Fauci in particular. Those attacks have been particularly distasteful since Paul purports to be an ophthalmologist– board-certified by an organization he invented, but still…theoretically, he’s  sort of a doctor.

Now, according to Talking Points Memo, he’s playing to the MAGA crowd and amplifying his racism by  encouraging Americans to emulate the Canadian Trucker Convoy that has roiled deliveries and other transportation between the U.S. and Canada.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is an enthusiastic supporter of Canadian truckers’ anti-government protests which have been causing major blockages at the Canada-U.S. border, telling the Daily Signal on Thursday that he hopes the so-called “Freedom Convoy” travels down south to congest American cities, too.

Why? Because, Paul said, “civil disobedience is a time-honored tradition” in the U.S., “from slavery to civil rights.”

Black Lives Matter, on the other hand, shouldn’t be “commandeering the microphone” and “bullying people” and behaving like a “crazed mob.”

Well, there’s a difference, you know. Those Canadian protesters appear to be White…

As Paul Krugman wrote a couple of days ago, the U.S. right is loving the convoys’ lawbreaking. “People who portrayed peaceful protests against police killings as an existential threat are delighted by the spectacle of right-wing activists breaking the law and destroying wealth.”

According to Vox and a number of other reports, the protest is widely unpopular among truckers and Canadians.

The so-called “freedom convoy” is nominally protesting a vaccine mandate for truckers, implemented in mid-January on both sides of the US-Canada border. But the demonstrations have swiftly ballooned into a broader far-right movement, with some demonstrators waving Confederate and Nazi flags. Protester demands include an end to all Covid-19 restrictions in Canada and the resignation of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

As the Vox article notes, it’s important to understand the broader Canadian context .

News coverage of the convoy, especially from sympathetic anchors on Fox News, may lead Americans to believe that Canada is in the midst of a far-right popular uprising. In reality, the mainstream consensus in Canada about Covid-19, and the nation’s institutions in general, is holding. The so-called trucker movement is on the fringe, including among Canadian truckers — some 90 percent of whom are vaccinated….

The January edition of the Covid-19 Monitor, a regular survey of Canadian attitudes about the pandemic, finds that about three-quarters of Canadians support vaccine passports for indoor dining and gatherings. Strikingly, 70 percent would “strongly” or “somewhat” support a vaccine mandate for all eligible adults — a vastly more restrictive policy than any province has actually attempted. What’s more, the researchers behind Covid-19 Monitor find that, on most issues, “support has remained relatively stable” throughout the pandemic — strong evidence that this isn’t just a short-term blip caused by omicron.

It makes sense, then, that the trucker protest is widely unpopular.

The protest is unpopular in Canada.  In the U.S., however, at least among the MAGA  contingent, it’s a different story. According to reports, sixty-three percent of the donations to the truckers’ now-removed GoFundMe came from the United States, and the American right played an important role in getting the protest off the ground.

The border crossing blockage added to pre-existing supply chain woes. Economists have estimated that it created some $300 million a day in economic damage. I’m sure Rand Paul considers that a small price to pay for the mayhem he applauds–after all, he has been all-in on attacks on vaccines and pandemic rules that demonstrably save lives. Since his ability to generate favorable coverage in rightwing media evidently outweighs any concern about unnecessary deaths, we shouldn’t be surprised that he considers $300 million in daily economic damage a reasonable price to pay for his 15 minutes of rightwing fame.

So–fair is fair. Indiana’s Senators may be feckless and undistinguished (Braun is actually pretty embarrassing), but on the scale of truly despicable, they can’t hold a candle to Kentucky’s entrants in the American Hall of Shame.


  1. Well, the coal ash falls on Kentucky residents while the mercury blows into Indiana. It’s clearly causing brain damage to those wearing suits and ties. 😉

  2. I’m sure Rand Paul considers the loss of $300 million/day to be a massive bonus rather than any sort of price. I’m sure he’s gleeful about the prospect that it could affect the economy negatively. The only price related to economic hardship is that it hurts regular people, but for the GOP, as you say, that’s a small price happily paid.

    The trucker convoy is a proxy for the culture war. It’s leaders are among the worst right-wing racists that my country has to offer. (How bad? Here they are… ) One of their leaders often rails in videos about how the Canadian government is out to “depopulate the white race.” The big trucking companies say this is a protest over a non-issue. Apparently, the few truckers who are not vaccinated just get assigned routes that don’t cross the border.

  3. Una; that post took me back to the movie “Billy Jack”, which carries messages we need to relearn today and the lines from the theme song from the movie:

    Go ahead and hate your neighbor,
    Go ahead and cheat a friend.
    Do it in the name of heaven
    You’ll be justified in the end.

    “The border crossing blockage added to pre-existing supply chain woes.”

    Kentucky has produced those evangelical snake-handlers Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul who spread hatred and lead the Trump supporters in preventing the return to filling our grocery store shelves and slowing delivery of needed medications to pharmacies. When local pharmacies begin closing; their personal fight against the health care system is aided from a different direction than their government inaction in Congress. The death of most unions under Republican direction hit truckers hard and as is always the case, the American people suffer the losses and pay the increasing costs.

  4. Uma, I subscribed to The Atlantic for a good while in the 70’s and then marriage, career and babies happened. I renewed my subscription a couple of years ago and it feels like I’ve been reunited with an old friend. The writing is superior and its editor is one of most sane people in journalism.

    As for KY’s senators, it’s all just MAGA-World to me…and I have no interest in trying to further understand their grievances and motivations. All that matters is their end-game, which is one-party authoritarianism, a topic you will never read about in the mass-main-stream press.

    Below is an example today in WAPO about a cited spike in child-poverty due to the expiration of “Biden’s” expanded earned income tax credit at the end of the year. No mention anywhere that all 50 Republicans voted against the measure initially and all of them plus 2 Dem senators refused to support the bill to renew it (BBB). It’s articles like these that make me happy I cancelled subscriptions to NYT and WAPO. They’ll do anything to keep TFG relevant and viable as a presidential contender – doing so keeps eyeballs on their pages and ads. In that regard they’re only slightly less evil than Facebook.

  5. I meant “child-tax-credit” not earned-income-tax credit. Gee, you’d think it was tax season!

  6. I bet that, if they dems put up a decent candidate, that is one who doesn’t spend the whole election season running away from the base, they can beat Rand Paul.

  7. I’m sure it’s just some kind of Freudian slip that I always read Canadian Truckers as Canadian Tuckers. Can’t imagine how that happens.

  8. The far right wing Neanderthals living among us are constantly looking for ways to disrupt the lives of the decent and more intellectually advanced human beings they are jealous of.

    The right wing extremists in both Congress and state legislatures that continuously push their way to the front of the lines to be interviewed on extreme right wing media outlets only care about one thing – keeping their jobs. I imagine most of them would be otherwise unemployable.

    The conservatives in Congress that are remaining silent about the destructive lies and actions of their fellow party members have stooped to the same shameless level. By showing their asses to the entire world they are bringing shame on our country. Canadians, Europeans and the citizens of other countries are watching in horror as we self-destruct.

  9. Well, first we must know that Rand, and his equally de-railed father, Ron, lived in east Texas while the son grew up. From seeing their current behaviors over the years, to expand on Todd’s point, this deranged family must have lived downwind from the oil refinery plants that populated their district. Rand Paul is clearly the product of chemical pollution that has ruined his own neurological “chemistry” to the point that the right-wing wackos now love him.

    And there’s a reason Fox News is not broadcast in Canada.

  10. Peggy,

    DEMs in KY had a wonderful young woman veteran candidate running against Mitch who was wiped out despite raising big money nationally. We all need to get used to the fact that there are many people who side with “them” and they love it, and they vote in droves (while many of us – especially young people – just yawn and/or have “fun”).

  11. In the “worst officials” category I nominate, once again, your northern neighbor. Our current and recent crop of Republican officials feature the following bright stars.

    (1) Lee Chatfield, former Republican speaker of the house. A proud exponent of traditional family values, until his sister-in-law spoke up. Turns out that while she was a teenage student at his family’s private religious school, Chatfield, as a teacher, [allegedly] initiated an abusive sexual relationship with her — which he then continued into her adult life, even after she married his brother. Chatfield’s “defense” is that he didn’t have sex with her when she was underage, he only had sex with her when she was an adult married to his brother. (“Well, that’s alright then!!!”) Since the sex scandal wore off some of aura of political untouchability, the state has finally gotten around to investigating his colossal and flagrant [alleged] violations of campaign funding and spending rules while in office. These included extravagant “entertainment” and travel expenses to places like strip clubs.

    (2) Good ole boy Mike Shirkey, the Republican senate majority leader, publicly meets with anti-government militia members, including the ones who were caught plotting to kidnap and kill the governor. He encourages them to “continue to train” to resist and attack the government. Other Republican candidates are instructing their followers to go into polling places “locked and loaded”, confront “suspicious” (i.e., likely Democratic) voters, and unplug any voting machines that seem likely to have recorded large numbers of Democratic votes.

    (3) Multiple Michigan Republican officeholders signed fraudulent electoral certificates or otherwise participated in the Trump Administration’s attempted coup.

    We do have statewide elected officials (governor, secretary of state, atty general, etc.) who represent the majority of the people, but the radically gerrymandered legislature is essentially permanently Republican and represents nobody but their frothing-at-the-mouth extreme right-wing “base”. They’re actively working on ways to ignore the will of the majority in elections, as well as finding ways to bypass the governor’s veto and the wishes of the majority in order to mandate all kinds of right-wing dogma. This includes using an abstruse provision of the state constitution that apparently allows the legislature, at its discretion, to ram through anything that 8% of the population support, bypassing the governor’s veto or any statewide vote.

    They’re also aggressively acting to take partisan control of local election administration, certification and funding, and outlaw volunteer pollworkers or any other volunteer assistance that might make up for partisan allocation of election administration funding, including use of churches or other non-governmental property as polling places. Local Republican officials in the 2020 election openly flirted with the idea of refusing to certify election results from Democratic precincts on purely partisan grounds, and local Republican officials have been caught red-handed tampering with voting machines.

    Comparisons to the Nazis of the 1930s are fully warranted. They do not represent the majority of the population, and have no interest in doing so. They see no need to appeal to the majority if they can manage to seize power through violence, intimidation, manipulation, and fraud.

  12. Lester – McConnell’s wife gave him $78M in federal infrastructure funding before that election so that he could campaign on that gift to KY while he voted down infrastructure funding for projects in the rest of the country. I still don’t understand how she got away with that.

  13. The purpose of blockades has always been to create economic chaos. Every transport channel can be blockaded by any enemy.

    In this case the enemy was the Republican Party in the US and the Conservative Party of Canada, the war was to defeat the ruling liberal parties in both countries and the transport channel was the road and bridge system.

  14. Sheila, your first sentence is gold. Thanks for the embedded links; fascinating to read of the self-certification of Rand Paul–what a goober. Some people have no shame or scruples; they’re known as Republicans.

    And thanks to others today for links and comments (although I still subscribe to the NYT–too much interesting stuff to disown them).

  15. Its only a dream but I dream and often day dream of being a vigilante. I think living red states and the Bible belt is a contributing factor. I keep saying that if Mitch was in the roadway in front of me I am going to be like those people at the California Farmers Market and accidently mistake that gas pedal for the brake and ‘floor it’. Regarding Paul-I now live 40 minutes south of Bowling Green and I would like to hand shake the neighbor who beat him up.

    Todd gives a plausible explanation for the stupidity by too many. I can’t say that I think we humans are all that at this time, because humanity seems to be stuck on stupid. My sister and I often wonder when the dear Lord is going to come down and state–‘well, the human experience has been a failure’ and just take us out but I think we are doing a pretty good job at eliminating our species all on our own. Like I said a few months ago–the creation of homo-sapiens is proof that there is a God because we are too damn dumb to have lasted this long w/o some form of Devine intervention. Sorry…all I have to offer this morning is snark and dreams of being a vigilante

  16. The save warehouse costs movement of “just in time” delivery of component auto parts across the border were and are so sundered that American auto plants are shutting down as our culture warriors (who are pretending to have found an issue of “freedom” with disease controls) have gone across the border to make their point(s). Workers in idle auto plants on both sides of the border who have car payments and mortgages to pay? Collateral damage.

    I knew Paul’s father as a libertarian dissident so the fruit hasn’t fallen far from the tree. Rand is not a Republican and never was; he’s a libertarian, an anti-tax aficionado steeped in the prairie schooner politics of Daniel Boone, an early settler of “Kaintuck,” an “I got mine, you get yours” pioneer philosophy but don’t tell me what I can do and don’t tax me for anything other than for the military, and only for them because they protect my assets from lazy welfare recipients, Marxist Democrats, and people who don’t look like me.

    Given his craven worldview, his childish selfishness, his need for headline attention and his innate resistance to convention or reason, sitting in the United States Senate if one of the last places we should find him, especially now, since he has added international disruption of trade to his approval of the 1/6 terrorist attack on our democracy. He should go back to Bowling Green and do eyes.

  17. Lester,

    I thought Amy McGrath would be a good candidate, too. Then Brionna Taylor happened. She should have recognized that this would be a hot button issue for African Americans, but she didn’t. She posted a relatively weak statement on her web site, when she should have been at the demonstrations. Remember to dance with who brung you.

  18. This gets me thinking about the ongoing culture war, and how we respond to right-wing attacks and narratives, especially the many that are just plain made up. As examples, I’m thinking about: Obama being a Muslim or born in Kenya, trickle-down economics, or this recent CRT nonsense. But there are many.

    Short answer: badly.

    Long answer:

    We try to argue or rebut the information. We try to argue in good faith relying on facts and logic. There are two main problems to this. First, it just serves to validate the talking point by increasing its visibility to the public; by raising it to something we try to argue against. If both sides talk about it, then it must be a real issue, right? For people that aren’t going to believe a thing we say, it’s worse than useless. Second, and bigger I think, is that we just can’t win these cases because the two sides aren’t playing by the same rules. We want a real debate on the issues; we won’t just make stuff up.

    Apologies to true believers here, but it reminds me of young earth creationist debates. (Kent Hovind is particularly horrible.) The apologist will make a spurious, antiscience claim, and as soon as there’s any substantive response, he’ll just move on, making no rebuttal at all, and make some new ridiculous claim. None of his arguments need make any sense at all, because that’s not the point. So, there’s no way for the evolutionary biologist (for example) to win the argument because it’s not really a debate. And that’s the real point: it’s TREATED as a debate but it ISN’T one.

    For the GOP, as long as a story is generating a good response from their base and the media (that includes outrage, fear, envy, anger, etc.), they will happily push on with it. It’s often a straw man. The more we argue against it, the worse it is for us. Then, if the narrative loses its potency for whatever reason, they’ll just move on to something else, maybe making up a new story out of thin air.

    There’s no way to win against these dishonest tactics. At least, there’s no way for us to move the other side, while the other side _will_ have a chance to sway a few of the lesser-informed or more credulous from us. You can see it working all the time. It’s infuriating, but also makes one feel so helpless. (…which is a pleasing side effect for the GOP.)

  19. Peggy – true, BUT, less than 9% of KY population is African-American. She got wiped out.

  20. Una,

    The interesting thing about jericho, the Israelites were not allowed to attack the city, at least attack while the walls were up.

    As we all know, Rahab had hidden the Israelite spies that were doing recon on the city of Jericho. And because Rahab was a believer in the Israelite God and hid the spies, she and her family were the only ones in scripture to survive after the walls came down.

    Jericho was a desired location because it was on the Jordan river. And, was called the city of palms or the city of fragrance.

    Interestingly, these Marchers of Jericho or whatever they’re called, have taken the name of the city of Jericho. The city of Jericho was at enmity with the god of the Israelites, and therefore was devoted to destruction. More appropriate term for them would seem to be the Marchers of Israel. Unfortunately they’ve taken the name of the defeated.

    Just an observation, thank you for reminding me about this Una. It’s been a really really busy day, lol, a lot of hungry folks to feed. Can’t forget to love your neighbor right?

  21. Funny you should mention Indiana, and its legislature! Check out this bit of Indiana history:
    More Indiana idiocy: In re: immigration, around 1921- “Said Indiana Republican Fred S. Purnell, ‘There is little, or no similarity between the clear-thinking
    self-governing stocks that sired the American people and this stream of irresponsible and broken wreckage that is pouring into the lifeblood of America the social and political diseases of the Old World.” pg. 408, “These Truths,” Jill Lepore

    Hey, Vernon, be nice to the Neanderthals, we carry some of their DNA.
    However, I will offer the suggestion that McTurtle, and Paul-son of one who was called crazy by his own fellow presidential campaigners of old- would not have survived
    to adulthood in Neanderthal society. I expect that they would have had no patience with such manipulators, and connivers.

  22. The other side uses emotion instead of reason. If Jan 6 did not arouse patriotic emotion to protect our Republican form of government we are doomed. I guess we need to stir up some emotion if we are going to win the battle.

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