May 22, 2005
Ron Paul

Yesterday's Chron had a front page piece on the gentleman from CD14, Ron Paul. It's mostly about he's Not That Kind Of Republican, in the sense that he actually does vote independently some of the time - according to the Public Campaign Action Fund, Paul voted with Tom DeLay a mere 74.51% of the time, much less than the #2 "independent" Texas Republican, Henry Bonilla at 93.85%. Some of Paul's highlights are listed in the sidebar.

So what do his fellow Republicans think about this? They think he's kind of cute.

"There are times when I specifically disagree with him on the interpretation of the Constitution, but at least I know that he is voting his conscience," said Galveston County GOP Chair Chris Stevens.

GOP Rep. Kevin Brady, of The Woodlands, said Paul "has a principle, whether you agree with him or not. I think the voters like that, even if they don't understand it."


Despite his discordant views, though, Paul said he has never felt any animosity from his Republican colleagues.

"People don't come up and say, 'What kind of idiotic vote are you casting?' " Paul said. "I don't feel like it has ever been personal. I think I get more people respecting it and not necessarily being angry at me."


Nowadays, national GOP groups tolerate Paul. In fact, the National Republican Congressional Committee only cares whether Paul votes to support Rep. Dennis Hastert to be speaker of the House, said NRCC spokesman Carl Forti.

They can afford to tolerate Ron Paul because they've got such a reliably lockstep caucus that his vote doesn't matter. Go here, click on Full List, and then on Vote% to sort by that. Exactly five Republicans - Johnson and Shays from Connecticut, Leach from Iowa, the now-retired Boehlert from New York, and the party-switching Alexander from Louisiana, who will no doubt move up on this list, broke orthodoxy more often than Ron Paul. Anyone else here think they might have something else to say if the House were a bit more closely divided?

Keep that in mind as we look ahead to 2006. I'm told that there's a strong challenger in the wings for CD14. Will the national party ride to Ron Paul's rescue? Will he want them to if they try? We'll see.

UPDATE: Oops. I coulda swore I heard that Boehlert had retired, but apparently not. My bad. Thanks to Mark in the comments for the catch.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on May 22, 2005 to Show Business for Ugly People | TrackBack

Sherry Boehlert isn't retired...

Posted by: Mark on May 22, 2005 1:20 PM

Ron Paul really does vote his conscience, every single vote.

Grassroots Republicans love him. I wore a "I'm a Ron Paul Republican" label sticker at the last two state conventions and people would come up to me asking where to get them.

The delegation knows that he's popular, but Ron Paul won't need the NRCC's help. We will have thousands of people walking for him and raising him money, $20 at a time.

Posted by: Rob Booth on May 23, 2005 6:30 AM

Mr. Booth is correct. Ron is probably the only Congressman who has a NATIONAL financial support base. Sometime, running for President under the Libertarian flag has its advantages.

Posted by: B. Moore on May 23, 2005 10:34 AM

The DeLay Rankings are fascinating. Ignoring the party-switcher, I observe:

1. There's a definite gap between the most pro-DeLay Democrat and the least pro-DeLay Republican, so there's a real difference between the parties (no surprise there, except maybe to diehard Naderites);

2. Nevertheless, the most pro-DeLay Democrat (Gene Taylor of Mississippi) votes with DeLay more than half the time. The least pro-DeLay Republican (Christopher Shays) votes with Delay over 2/3rds of the time. So the GOP Caucus is far more unified than the Democratic Caucus. As a result, even if the House were evenly divided between the parties, the GOP would still win most votes.

This is the problem with the common Democratic strategy of "running to the right," rather than appealing to issues where the public is already liberal. Short-term, you may lose fewer elections, but you end up with a "party" which is all over the map, politically; and long-term, you lose seats anyway.

Posted by: Mathwiz on May 27, 2005 10:43 AM