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Bill Straub: Some things you can count on, and Rand Paul is proceeding in his true, maskless form

You can always count on the sun to rise in the east and set in the west.

You can always count on Tom Brady to come through in the big game.

And you can always count on Rand Paul to make an ass out of himself.

Boy, this dude is some nasty piece of work, isn’t he?

You may have heard there’s an impeachment trial going on in Washington, some jamoke named Trump (as Panama Smith said about Eddie Bartlett at the end of The Roaring Twenties, “He used to be a big shot”) incited a riot that led to several deaths and shook the republic to its very foundation.

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

All 100 senators are sitting in judgment of said jamoke, as House prosecutors present their case and a host of inept attorneys endeavor to defend the indefensible.

Of the 100 lawmakers sitting as a jury, 99 of them are wearing masks in deference to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has been plaguing the nation and the globe for better than a year now.

They are wearing the masks not so much to protect themselves but to protect others, to diminish chances of spreading a virus that has led to almost a half million deaths in the U.S. alone. It is one of those things that folks realize, while inconvenient, is the right thing to do for your fellow man and woman.

Well, not everyone. You’ll notice one person is missing from that list of mask wearers. Who could it possibly be? Let’s check in with Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-OH, who took note of the laggard.

“I would like to ask Sen. Paul in front of everybody to start wearing a mask on the Senate floor like the entire staff does all the time,” Brown said on the Senate floor, adding, “I wish Sen. Paul would show the respect to his colleagues to wear a mask while he’s on the Senate floor walking around and speaking.”

Now Paul, R-Bowling Green, didn’t respond to Brown’s reasonable request, although in the past he has asserted that, since he tested positive for the virus last March and emerged from the distress with flying colors, he doesn’t need to wear a mask. In fact, he has publicly stated that anyone who has already contracted the malady should “throw away their masks,” insisting they are immune from getting it again.

Paul is, as usual, talking out of his hat. There’s no conclusive evidence that COVID-19 patients are totally immune from a reoccurrence. Scientists working on SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, believe that most patients will maintain immunity for a period following recovery. But there are numerous reports circulating about individuals coming down with the virus a second time. At least four re-infection cases have been documented, apparently determining that it is possible to contract COVID-19 again.

And it should be noted that those who have already contracted COVID-19 likely aren’t immune from the new variants first discovered in Britain and South Africa, potentially rendering his inaction even more dangerous.
It’s certainly possible, then, that a reinfected individual can unknowingly spread the virus if they don’t wear a mask.

But Rand Paul remains barefaced because, as we all understand, he knows better than everyone else, including trained diagnosticians, and really doesn’t give a bleep on how his actions might have an effect on others. If Sherrod Brown thinks he’s going to have success prodding Paul by asking that he act with decency and show respect, he’s sadly mistaken.

Paul is, to put it politely, an oddball. He has this weird thing going about wearing masks to limit the spread of COVID-19, insisting they don’t work despite the findings of the Centers for Disease Control and just about every other Tom, Dick and Harry involved in public health.

So he’s still sitting like the Queen of Sheba during the trial, maskless, paying little heed to the devastating proceedings firmly establishing that former President Donald J. Trump was involved in creating a catastrophe that, evidence shows, could have been much, much worse.

Our boy Rand is on record asserting the proceedings are unconstitutional because Trump has, saints be praised, left office, the result of the Nov. 3 election which he lost by 7 million votes. Paul drew that conclusion basically out of thin air, making a phony baloney case dismissing it as unconstitutional, once again spitting in the faces of experts who maintain otherwise.

For you see, just as was the case with public health experts and epidemiologists who continue to urge mask wearing, Rand Paul knows more about the Constitution than legal scholars who studied and have a firm grasp of the founding document.

Boy, that Rand, he’s really, really smart, isn’t he? Experts? We don’t need no stinking experts. We’ve got Rand Paul to guide us through every pitfall.

Of course he’s smugly dismissive when it’s pointed out that impeachment will ensure that Trump, who carried the nation to the brink and created the greatest political divide the nation has experienced since the Civil War, never serves in office again. Falling in line behind Paul’s theory means a president can pull off just about any stunt imaginable during his waning days in office, confident that no one can lay a hand on him. Why, the president can engage in sedition and fuel a riot that treated the Capitol like the Alamo and not worry about consequences.

As Chris Wallace pointed out during a give-and-take with Paul on his Sunday Fox News program, there is precedent for impeaching a federal official after he or she leaves office. Will Belknap, Secretary of War under President Ulysses S Grant, was caught up in what was called the Fort Sill Traderpost Scandal, accused of profiteering.

Belknap resigned but was impeached by the House nonetheless. Despite protests from Belknap’s defense, the Senate ruled the trial could proceed. He was acquitted, even though a majority voted to convict, unable to meet the two-thirds requirement.

Paul argued that the precedent doesn’t hold, that the Constitution “has some very specific requirements” for impeaching a president.

Impeachment managers argued before the Senate that those requirements had been met. In a bipartisan vote, the chamber agreed and elected to proceed.

But Rand Paul knows better and characterized the proceeding as a “partisan farce,” insisting the claims Trump incited the riot are a “big lie.” He has even resorted to the new last refuge of a scoundrel – both siderism.

“But I think that they should see video of all the Democrats and the inflammatory and temperate language that they use,” Paul said recently on Hannity. “Cory Booker saying, get up in the face of these Congress people. Maxine Waters saying swarm the restaurants. Kamala Harris even saying, let’s bail out these people.”

None of them, of course, used language approaching the slime that dripped from Trump’s lips. And certainly, none of them dispatched marauders to ground zero for American democracy, looking for members of Congress to hang.

Trump’s words were an atrocity. Paul’s defense is just as bad.

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