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Can unraked leaves have a lasting impact on our country?
by Dan Brawner Columnist · November 16th, 2017

The leaves have been hanging on the trees this fall like they're afraid to let go. It may be pleasant to look at, but I think it has made me lazy. I keep thinking I can wait one more week before I rake. Who cares if I do? What will it matter to the fate of the world?

If that was also what Sen. Rand Paul thought, boy was he wrong!

According to news reports:

Last Friday afternoon, Sen. Paul was at his home in Bowling Green, Ky., minding his own business, mowing his lawn when his neighbor, Rene Boucher, tackled him.

Paul was wearing hearing protection and didn't hear Boucher, a retired anesthesiologist, come running up from behind. Paul suffered five broken ribs, bruised lungs and some facial cuts and bruises. The two had been neighbors for 17 years and even once worked at the same hospital where Paul practiced as an ophthalmologist. The men never seemed to get along. Paul is a libertarian who identifies as a Republican and Boucher is a registered Democrat, whom other neighbors describe as a socialist.

Apparently, Boucher strictly adheres to the rules of their exclusive gated community, while Paul, ignoring regulations, grows pumpkins, composts and appears indifferent to his unraked leaves and grass clippings.

Boucher is not your typical, you-kids-get-off-my-lawn crabby old coot. He was a former Army pain management specialist and a 1984 graduate of the College of Osteopathic Medicine in Des Moines. Other neighbors say Boucher, now divorced and living alone, stewed over Paul's stray leaves and recently planted saplings. And then something just snapped. Boucher had to spend the night in jail and was released on a $7,500 bond for misdemeanor assault - which may be upgraded to a felony in light of Paul's injuries.

But so what if two rich neighbors got into a squabble over landscaping? Well, it seems that Sen. Paul is now having trouble breathing and may be unable to travel or fly in a plane. With the upcoming Republican tax reform initiative facing a very close contest in the Senate, Sen. Paul's vote could decide the fate of the Republican do-or-die bill with billions of dollars in tax relief hanging in the balance and $1.5 trillion that would be added to the federal deficit. After so few legislative accomplishments, without this win, the Trump presidency could deflate like one of those big Thanksgiving turkey yard displays when somebody pulls the plug. Voters might lose confidence in the party and with the 2018 midterm elections, Republicans could lose control of the House or Senate. And all because of a few stray leaves.

I look out at my front yard and sigh. There are hardly enough leaves to rake, really. Maybe the wind will blow them away. And it is kind of cold. The lawn could wait another week. What could it hurt?
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