June 27, 2006
Ron Paul, rhetorical contortionist
The Baytown Sun picks up on funny business by Rep. Ron Paul after it was pointed out by Shane Sklar.
A Sklar release stated that Paul "triumphantly announced that Congress had passed hurricane relief funding and that (Paul) had worked to have 90 percent reimbursement for Texas communities affected by Hurricane Rita" included in the bill, called The Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Hurricane Recovery.
Among the provisions of the bill, HR 4939, cited in the press release as "important for Texas' Gulf Coast families" are: $26 million for rural development; $235 million in additional assistance for displaced elementary and secondary school students for the 2005-2006 school year; and $6 billion for the federal Disaster Relief Fund.
But while Paul took credit in a press release for the Texas funding in the bill, "the release fails to mention, however, that Paul voted against the bill."
"We get zero leadership out of Congressman Ron Paul on hurricane relief," Sklar stated.
"It's hypocritical and dishonest for Ron Paul to vote against this important hurricane relief effort and claim credit for it's passing," he said. "Ron Paul has been in Washington too long. Only in Washington D.C. would it make sense to take credit for something you voted against."
But Jeff Deist, a spokesman for Paul, said hurricane relief was only a small portion of the bill, an emergency supplemental bill which is not considered part of the federal budget or the deficit because of a "procedural trick."
"Congressman Paul always makes sure, in any of the appropriations bills, whether they're a supplemental, a regular bill, or a hurricane bill, he always takes whatever steps he can to make sure that some of the spending in that bill goes to the district. That's part of his job," Deist said.
But, Deist said, Paul has a longstanding objection to increased federal spending that increases the deficit. "He runs on that promise. He wants Congress to spend less, and he won't vote for bills that do the opposite, that raise the amount of spending. He's committed to doing that, he's done that throughout his career here," he said.
Got that? He'll fight to bring home the bacon, then vote against it because bacon is bad for you. You should be happy to know that this way he can sleep better at night.
This is Ron Paul in a nutshell. Given a choice between representing his district, and keeping his ideological purity intact, he'll choose the latter every time. Kind of a bummer for him that in a year where his district really needs him, he's got an opponent around to make noise over the contradictions inherent in his actions.
And this is what I mean when I say Paul is a nonentity, a boutique Congressman. He can write all the articles he wants for LewRockwell.com about government minimalism, and it will have no effect on how his party behaves. He has no influence, and in the end all he can do is argue that at least his purpose was noble. Sad, really.
There's more in this BOR diary by Sklar.
Posted by Charles Kuffner on June 27, 2006 to Election 2006
"Congressman Paul always makes sure, in any of the appropriations bills, whether they're a supplemental, a regular bill, or a hurricane bill, he always takes whatever steps he can to make sure that some of the spending in that bill goes to the district. That's part of his job,"
Am I the only one who thinks that this line of thinking is utter horse manure? That's not the job of a representative. The job is to be a district's representative and advocate on the issues important to the district and the nation. That does not always mean getting a spending line.
It is, however, the evolution of the job description as seen by an incumbent. It is easy to point to money brought home to the district. Being a visionary who approaches the issues facing our country head-on takes much greater fortittude.
And yes, I know that's how the game is played. I just really hate the game. Anytime Congress as a body has an 64% disapproval rating while simultaneously having a 98% reelection rate, something seriously f'ed up.
Ron Paul - Dr. No - is easily the least relevant, most ignored member of Congress. He is unnoticed, even by his fellow right-wingers. Problem is, he is also unnoticed by most voters here in the 14th district who have routinely sent him back to DC to do absolutely diddly-squat. His presence in Congress is more evidence, as if we really needed any, of the complete failure of the concept of representative government. When voters quit caring, fanatics like Paul prevail.
Got that? He'll fight to bring home the bacon, then vote against it because bacon is bad for you
No, he thinks the bacon's too expensive, but once someone's gone and bought it anyway, his district ought to get its share. What's unreasonable about that?
he can sleep better at night....a choice between representing his district, and keeping his ideological purity intact...his purpose was noble. Sad, really.
Mr. Kuffner, you could validly argue that his conscience leans in the wrong direction, but these remarks seem to be arguing against having a conscience in general.
He has no influence
Let's see, who in his party had influence? That would've been Tom Delay. Yeah, Tom Delay, that's a lot better model for a congressman.
Paul's views are a bit out of the mainstream and you could have easily made a case why you're against his ideology. But instead, the tone of your post is that we need to elect reps based on their "influence" and ability to get goods for their district in the most direct, immediate, material way possible. A bit too cynical for me.
Charles Kuffner posted above that 'This is Ron Paul in a nutshell. Given a choice between representing his district, and keeping his ideological purity intact, he'll choose the latter every time.'
Suggesting that Ron Paul voted against the bill that provided hurricane relief because of his 'ideological purity' is being too kind. Rather, Ron Paul votes the Libertarian Party line to continue to satisfy those Libertarians who provide him the bulk of his campaign cash. On www.opensecrets.com you can find that 72 percent of the individual contributions to him that exceed $200 each come from outside of Texas. These contributions come by and large from Libertarians who consider Ron Paul their 'man in Congress.'
Upon downloading recent Federal Election Commission data of all individual contributions of $200 or more, and using both zip codes and city names to locate the residences of those contributors, I found that a mere 7 percent of the individual contributions to Ron Paul came from within his own district. Whether he votes on the basis of his own ideological purity, or that of his contributors, the fact is that if he voted otherwise the 93 percent of his contributions that come from out-of-district would soon dry up.
There is just one vote that Ron Paul makes out of deference to the Republican Party, and that is for the party leadership’s choice for Speaker of the House. To do otherwise would run the risk of finding a party-sponsored opponent in the next primary. He also would probably not receive any committee assignments. Running as a Republican, even though philosophically he is a Libertarian, allows him to benefit from straight-ticket Republican voters. He uses the cash he gets from his Libertarian contributors from throughout the nation to bombard the voters in his own district with rhetoric to the effect that he is 'The Taxpayers’ Best Friend.'
It is crucial that in this coming election the voters of Texas Congressional District 14 understand the Texas two-step that Ron Paul has been dancing to. With one foot in the Libertarian Party, the other in the Republican Party, he is trying to maintain a precarious balance. Because the vast majority of his campaign cash comes from Libertarians he usually votes in line with their principles. This often puts him at odds with the voters in his own district, as in the case of hurricane relief. It would be a sad day, come next January, if the vote by Ron Paul was the 218th and last vote to keep the Republican Party in control of the House.
The voters of District 14 are fortunate this year that they have a real alternative to vote for, namely Democrat Shane Sklar, a bright, young, and energetic native Texan. I hope they take advantage of this opportunity.