Rand Paul had all the right questions.
The outspoken Kentucky senator and GOP firebrand set George Stephanopoulos straight Sunday morning when the ABC host and barely disguised Democratic attack dog tried to bully Paul into acknowledging that Americans should simply accept the results of the 2020 presidential election.
When he hit back, Paul’s response was formidable — and he was no doubt speaking for millions of former President Donald Trump’s supporters:
“I won’t be cowed by liberals in the media who say, ‘There’s no evidence here, and you’re a liar if you talk about election fraud,” Paul said. “No. Let’s have an open debate. It’s a free country.”
Well, one week into President Joe Biden’s term it still is, anyway. (Democrats are just getting started.) And the only way to keep it free is to get to the bottom of the kind of questions Paul raised in the interview.
Check it out here. It’s about six minutes of video, but well worth the time.
Stephanopoulos started off with what he called a “threshold question.”
“This election was not stolen, do you accept that fact?”
Obviously, a “threshold question” to the former Clinton White House spokesman means “do you accept the parameters of political discussion as liberals define them?”
Paul wasn’t accepting that at all.
“What I would say is, the debate over whether or not there was fraud should occur,” he said. “We never had any presentation in court where we actually looked at the evidence. Most of the cases were thrown out for lack of standing, which is a procedural way of not actually hearing the question.
“There were several states in which the law was changed by the secretary of state and not the state legislature. To me, those are clearly unconstitutional …
“But, yes, were there people who voted twice?” Paul asked. “Were there dead people who voted? Where there illegal aliens who voted? Yes, and we should get to the bottom of it.”
That isn’t what Stephanopoulos wanted to hear, of course, and his interruptions sounded like they came straight from the “Mainstream Media Guide on How Not to Question the 2020 Election.” But Paul wasn’t giving an inch.
“What I would suggest, is that if we want greater confidence in our elections, and 75 percent of Republicans agree with me, is that we do need to look at election integrity and we do need to see if we can restore confidence in the elections.”
It wasn’t clear exactly where Paul got the 75 percent figure, but it might have been a CNN-SSRS poll released last week that showed three-quarters of Republicans think Biden “did not legitimately win enough votes to win the presidency.” (The same poll showed 99 percent of Democrats thought Biden won “legitimately.” Go figure.)
To Stephanopoulos, that just meant Republicans “were fed a big lie by President Trump and his supporters.”
Actually, it’s pretty well the partisan opposite.
It’s not Republicans who’ve been fed a “big lie” by Trump and his party. It’s the Democratic Party and its allies in the mainstream media that have spent the past five-plus years feeding the American people the “big lies” about Trump:
That he’s a proto-fascist; that he was elected only through “Russia collusion”; that he engaged in a “quid pro quo” with Ukraine — which sparked his first sham impeachment; that he incited an “insurrection” before the Jan. 6 Capitol incursion — which has led to a second sham impeachment.
Any American who’s even halfway paying attention is aware of the mainstream media loathing for Trump — loathing that was evident every day of his presidency, and continues in the days since he’s left the White House.
But Paul wasn’t going to be bullied by Stephanopoulos on Sunday, and Trump supporters aren’t going to be bullied by the mainstream media either.
Is the fight over the 2020 election over? With Biden’s inauguration Wednesday, it is.
Is the turmoil over that election done with? Not by a long shot.
The tensions over 2020 are going to keep simmering, and they’re going to result in some misfires. Paul’s charge about absentee ballots in Wisconsin, for instance, seems to have been off-base. (He appears to have been referring to absentee ballot witnesses, not voters, whose addresses weren’t present, and the rules he referred to appear to stem from the 2016 election, not this year, according to a Nov. 11 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report.)
But the questions are too numerous, the reports of fraud too widespread, and the high-handed refusal by the courts to hear legitimate complaints are too insulting to conservative voters to be soon forgotten.
“There were lots of problems, and there were secretaries of state who illegally changed the law, and that needs to be fixed and I’m going to work hard to fix it,” Paul told Stephanopoulos.
“And I won’t be cowed by people saying, ‘you’re a liar.’ That’s the problem with the media today. They say all Republicans are liars and everything we say is a lie. There are two sides to every story.”
Again, Stephanopoulos didn’t want to hear that, and insisted it was an indisputable fact that the election “was not stolen.”
A final time, he pressed Paul on the question. Again, Paul wouldn’t bite.
“I think there was a great deal of evidence of fraud and changing of the election laws illegally, and I think a thorough investigation is warranted,” he said.
Maybe that investigation could include the questions Paul raised early in the interview: Were there people who voted twice? Where there dead people who voted? Where there illegal aliens who voted?
The biggest question of all, though, is how Democrats could even think those questions — and others like them — aren’t even worth asking.
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