Isn't it bad enough for Rep. Charles Taylor (R-N.C.) that he shares a name with a homicidal former leader of Liberia who is currently awaiting trial on crimes against humanity?
Apparently not. The Wash Post reports that the Tarheel congressman–in the midst of a reelection campaign against former Redskins QB Heath Shuler, no less–is refusing to vote for a federally funded memorial to the victims of United Flt 93, which crashed in a Pennsylvania field on 9/11. Taylor is, in fact, the only congressman opposed to shelling out $10 million to buy the land for a permanent memorial (a makeshift one has been in place for a few years).
For Taylor, a large landowner in the mountains of western Carolina, the issue comes down to principle: The federal government is already the largest landowner in the country, and he believes that no additional tax dollars should go to more land buying for this or any other memorial. Beyond that, the families have committed to raising half the $60 million needed to build the memorial but so far have raised $7.5 million. Taylor is concerned that the federal government will be left holding the bag.
Taylor is not simply going up against the rest of Congress but against Rep. William "Bud" Shuster of Pennsylvania, "the Prince of Pork" and one of the most powerful guns in the lower house.[*]
I have no idea if Taylor is in fact committed to lower spending across the board–he pulled a 92 percent rating from the American Conservative Union last year, which suggests he might be a tax-and-spending cutter. But he also pulled a craptacular 40 percent on "personal liberties" from the Republican Liberty Caucus. To his credit, he's pulled as low as a 0 percent rating from the John Birch Society. (Go here for a compilation of his ratings.)
But even if he were a small-government fanatic, I'm curious as to what motivates a guy to take his stand on this particular issue (soon to be a major motion picture even!), one which even Texas Rep. Ron Paul–the Babe Ruth, Michael Jordan, and Wayne Gretzky of small government all rolled into one–apparently doesn't feel a need to attack.
Update: Thanks to reader Raymond C. Eckhart for pointing out that Bill Shuster is not King Bud but his son. Regrets for any confusion.