Monday, July 02, 2007

Misleading Leftist Attack On Ron Paul

Blogger "cactus" of Angry Bear attacks Ron Paul for supposedly being a hypocrite. He quotes a story from Houston Chronicle which says this:

"U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Lake Jackson, the Libertarian-leaning contender for the Republican presidential nomination, long has waged war on the widespread federal spending he views as outside constitutional boundaries.

But the congressman, who often votes against spending bills, including funds for the Iraq war, leads the Houston-area delegation in the number of earmarks, or special funding requests, that he is seeking for his district. He is trying to nab public money for 65 projects, such as marketing wild shrimp and renovating the old movie theater in Edna that closed in 1977 — neither of which is envisioned in the Constitution as an essential government function."

That certainly appears bad and when I first read it, I thought "Et tu, Ron Paul?". But, if you read the rest of the story it really isn't as bad as it first appears:

"The way it works in Paul's office is that local groups and officials from his district make pitches to him for federal funding. The congressman passes along those recommendations to the Appropriations Committee as earmark requests. Paul said he tries to treat everyone equally and rejects few requests. He said it would be unfair "for me to close the door and say this is a bunch of junk."

But in the end, Paul said, he would likely vote against the spending bills even if they included earmarks he sought."

So, Paul does not vote for pork barrel spending for his own district since he always vote against the spending bills even if all of the earmarks are approved. But he does make sure that if there are to be any spending it should to some extent be in his district rather than in the rest of the country.

Arguably, Paul shouldn't open himself for these kinds of attacks by approving these requests. It would be more straightforward to refuse to deal with the composition of spending bills he oppose. But as he always vote against the bills, it is not a case of Paul abandoning his opposition to unconstitutional spending.


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