Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Ron Rand Paul: Not So Hypocritical, but Not Very Bright

I saw that Wall Street Journal story where Ron* Rand Paul seems to back away from his harsh words on earmarks:
In a bigger shift from his campaign pledge to end earmarks, he tells me that they are a bad "symbol" of easy spending but that he will fight for Kentucky's share of earmarks and federal pork, as long as it's doled out transparently at the committee level and not parachuted in in the dead of night. "I will advocate for Kentucky's interests," he says.
I thereupon joined the multitude who read this as Paul going for the gold in the hypocrisy sweepstakes: against earmarks until I win, and until it's me.

Paul evidently cried foul.  The reporter now says "I stand by the story as written," but offers the full transcript.  The reader can make up her own mind but on this one, I'd say advantage Paul.  Seems to me that he says he won't do "earmarks"--that he will fight to bring home the bacon, but he'll do in committee.

Still, if Paul wins on two-faced, I'd have to say he loses on stupid.  He evidently thinks that he and Roy Blount (say) can sit down and have a heart-to-heart over which district deserves its bridge more, on some set of independent criteria.    From reading the text, I get the impression that he actually believes this malarky which belief, for my money, shows just how out of touch with the process he is.  My stars does he really think that he is the first person to think of "negotiations" as a solution  conflicts public resouces?  Doesn't he realize that that the reason why we've drifted into earmarks is that Congressmen long ago recognized that it was pointless to try to sort these conflicts by Marquis of Queensbury Rules, and much cheaper and more convenient just to go sort it out in the ally?  Does he really think that all Republicans are just good friends?   Indeed, if he is a good libertarian, wouldn't it be an article of faith with him that "negotiation" is in principle a terrible way to solve conflicts of this sort?

I admit, he might not be stupid; he might just be venal.   But I'm more and more seeing Paul as (riffing Joel for a moment) the smart alecky kind who gets himself elected high school class president and then discovers that he hasn't any idea what to do with the office once he gets it.

*Sorry, can't keep my Pauls straight.

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