CNN: Say, this attack on Rand Paul is a mystery

Wednesday, Rand Paul’s wife, Kelley Paul, wrote a piece for CNN in which she denies her husband and the man who attacked him two weeks ago have any ongoing disputes. In response, CNN’s Chris Cillizza wrote a piece calling the attack on Paul a “mystery.”

What the heck actually happened — and more importantly why? Why would someone who had been a longtime neighbor of Paul’s suddenly snap and inflict serious damage on him? Why is there so much effort to push totally contradictory explanations of the incident and what motivated it? We are dealing with a US Senator who was viciously attacked at his home.

Boucher pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor assault earlier this month, making it more likely there will be a trial at which we may finally get this mystery solved.

But, even in Boucher’s not guilty plea, there were differing accounts of the motive.

“It was absolutely and unequivocally not about politics, not about right versus left and not about Democrat versus Republican,” said Boucher’s lawyer.

“As to reports of a longstanding dispute with the attacker, the Pauls have had no conversations with him in many years,” replied Doug Stafford, a senior adviser to Paul.

Here’s another mystery: Why has it taken two weeks for CNN to notice that this story doesn’t add up? I wrote basically the same piece Cillizza did two weeks ago when it became evident that Rand Paul was denying any ongoing dispute or conversation of any kind with neighbor Rene Boucher. Kelley Paul doubled-down on that in her piece Wednesday:

It is incredibly hurtful that some news outlets have victimized Rand a second time as he struggles to recover, delighting in hateful headlines like “Not A Perfect Neighbor,” and concocting theories about an “ongoing dispute,” based on nothing more than speculation from an attention-seeking person with no knowledge of anything to do with us.

The fact is, neither Rand nor I have spoken to the attacker in 10 years (since before his wife and children moved away) other than a casual wave from the car. Nobody in our family has, nor have we communicated with anyone in his family. With Rand’s travel to D.C. in the last seven years, he has rarely seen this man at all.

The only “dispute” existed solely in the attacker’s troubled mind, until, on a beautiful autumn day, he ran down the hill on our property and slammed his body into Rand’s lower back as he stood facing away, wearing noise canceling headphones to protect his ears from the lawnmower.

This was not a “scuffle,” a “fight” or an “altercation,” as many in the media falsely describe it. It was a deliberate, blindside attack.

Boucher’s attorney says this was a neighborly dispute but won’t explain it. He points people to a claim made by a 3rd party who wasn’t there. Back on November 7th, Jim Skaggs, the developer of the neighborhood where Paul and Boucher live, gave an interview to the Louisville Courier-Journal which was picked up by USAToday. In the interview, Skaggs claimed the attack was the result of a lawn maintenance dispute:

The history between U.S. Sen. Rand Paul and his accused attacker is filled with years of angst and petty arguments over misplaced lawn trimmings and branches, the neighborhood’s developer said.

“I think this is something that has been festering,” said Jim Skaggs, the developer of the Rivergreen gated community in Bowling Green, where the two men live. “… I wanted to build a place where everyone could get along, but I guess that’s just impossible.”…

While there’s no official word on what caused the fight, Skaggs suggested it might have stemmed from Paul allegedly blowing lawn trimmings into his neighbor’s yard.

There have been disagreements in the past, Skaggs said, over lawn clippings or who should cut down a tree branch when it stretched over a property line.

This is the article Kelley Paul was referencing, i.e. the one with “Not a Perfect Neighbor” in the headline (the headline has been changed but it’s still there in the URl). So Jim Skaggs is the person she refers to as an “attention-seeking person.”

Chris Cillizza actually gets this wrong in his piece, writing, “now, this op-ed by Kelley Paul in which she suggests Boucher has a ‘troubled mind’ and is an ‘attention-seeking person.'” Cillizza is conflating two different people. Boucher, the attacker, is the person Kelly Paul says has a “troubled mind.” Jim Skaggs, the developer, is the “attention-seeking person.”

In any case, Rand Paul’s wife seems to be ruling out any long-simmering feud between the two men. How can you have a feud if the two sides haven’t spoken in 10 years and rarely see one another even in passing? Until Boucher or his attorney offer an alternative explanation, a political motive still seems like a viable explanation in this case. That could change but it has been two weeks and we’ve seen nothing yet to back up the lawn care theory.