The Rand Paul Attack Was All About…Yard Maintenance

Bill Clark/Congressional Quarterly/Newscom via ZUMA

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

Why did Sen. Rand Paul’s neighbor attack him early last month? Washington Post reporter Justin Jouvenal persuaded Jim Skaggs to give him a tour of the gated neighborhood where it happened, and thinks he has the answer:

They might have sparred over health care or taxes, but an acquaintance of both said they stood in their yards roughly a decade ago shouting at each other over the grass clippings Paul’s mower had shot on Rene Boucher’s property. “ ‘I ask him, I tell him and he won’t pay attention,’ ” the acquaintance, Bill Goodwin, recalls Boucher saying after the argument. “ ‘One of these days.’ ”

….Skaggs said Boucher was exacting about the standards for his yard — landscaping bags filled with waste were a common site on his property. Neighbors said Paul had a reputation for a more relaxed style that some felt didn’t always jibe with a community that features gas lamps, Greek statuary and a 13-page packet of rules. The senator had a pumpkin patch, compost and unraked leaves beneath some of his trees. Goodwin said it annoyed Boucher that Paul did not consistently cut his grass to the same height, and leaves from Paul’s trees blew on his property.

….[Boucher’s lawyer] said the old tensions over landscaping were triggered on Nov. 3 by a fresh incident he declined to detail.

A friend of mine has a neighbor like Boucher. He vacuums his lawn. He measures the distance between his petunias. He complains when the wind blows leaves into his yard from neighboring trees. He became outraged some years ago when my friend replaced his lawn with native plants, and hasn’t spoken to him since.

This stuff happens. I guess it even happens to famous people.

A BETTER WAY TO DO THIS?

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and we can't afford to come up short. But when a reader recently asked how being a nonprofit makes Mother Jones different from other news organizations, we realized we needed to lay this out better: Because "in absolutely every way" is essentially the answer.

So we tried to explain why your year-end donations are so essential, and we'd like your help refining our pitch about what make Mother Jones valuable and worth reading to you.

We'd also like your support of our journalism with a year-end donation if you can right now—all online gifts will be doubled until we hit our $350,000 goal thanks to an incredibly generous donor's matching gift pledge.

payment methods

A BETTER WAY TO DO THIS?

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and we can't afford to come up short. But when a reader recently asked how being a nonprofit makes Mother Jones different from other news organizations, we realized we needed to lay this out better: Because "in absolutely every way" is essentially the answer.

So we tried to explain why your year-end donations are so essential, and we'd like your help refining our pitch about what make Mother Jones valuable and worth reading to you.

We'd also like your support of our journalism with a year-end donation if you can right now—all online gifts will be doubled until we hit our $350,000 goal thanks to an incredibly generous donor's matching gift pledge.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate