Politics

Don Young Inches Ahead, With a Boost From….Ron Paul?

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I'm in Anchorage, Alaska this morning, wrapping up a vacation.  Other than Sen. Ted Stevens' unfortunate win that Nick Gillespie noted this morning (but fret not—polls show he's going to get clocked in the general election) the big news up here from last night's primaries is that the state's sole representative in Congress, Rep. Don "Stuffed It Like a Turkey" Young, is in the fight of his political life, clinging to a 145 vote lead over state Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell.

Young of course is the House's poster boy for earmark madness, making an art of procuring mounds of pork for the Last Frontier, then openly boasting about his recklessness with taxpayer money.  Young's best move, though, may have been finding $10 million in the federal budget for a road project in Florida, coincidentally benefiting a real estate magnate who had hours earlier raised $40,000 for Young's campaign, and happens to own 4,000 acres along the same road.  Young's a dinosaur, the epitome of the frozen sludge of long-serving, good ol' boy politics that's come to epitomize Alaska's delegation in Washington.  It shouldn't surprise anyone that Young is also being investigated by the Justice Department for corruption.

Which makes it all the more puzzling that Young won a last-minute and possibly game-changing primary endorsement from, of all people, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas).  Paul's endorsement praises Young for "standing up to environmental extremists," and for supporting Paul's proposal to abolish the income tax.  But that hardly seems worth Paul sticking his neck out for this idiot, particularly given Young's resolute support for the Iraq war, the issue that defined Paul's run for the White House.

Parnell, Young's opponent, has proposed a one-year earmark moratorium.  He has also been endorsed by the low-tax, limited government Club for Growth, a fact Young has used against him, weirdly implying that the anti-government group may call in favors from Parnell in exchange for their support (how would that work, exactly?).  There's really not much difference between Young and Parnell on environmental issues.  Both support drilling in ANWR.  

Paul's last-minute entry into the race shouldn't be taken lightly.  Paul raised more money from Alaska than any presidential candidate from either party, and finished third in the GOP caucuses, ahead of John McCain, with votes to cover Young's slim lead over Parnell this morning several times over.

Paul's no stranger to earmarks himself, so perhaps that explains why he's not much bothered by Young's frivolity with taxpayer money.  But I'd imagine that many of  the people who donated to Paul's presidential run in support of his opposition to the war and his support for a limited, fiscally responsible federal government will be pretty disappointed by his move to keep a guy like Young in office.

NEXT: Stars! Stars! Stars!

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  1. Rep. Young relies upon many tools at his disposal while carrying out his duties as U.S. Congressman - including the penis bone of a walrus.

    During a debate on the right of native Alaskans to sell the sex organs of endangered animals as aphrodisiacs, Young whipped out an oosik, the eighteen-inch penis bone of a walrus, and brandished it like a sword on the House floor.

    In a separate incident, Young waved an 18-inch oosik- the penis bone of the walrus- at Mollie Beattie, director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Beattie had suggested that Alaskan Natives should be able to sell oosiks only as handicrafts, not uncarved, a proposal Young derided. The incident was especially embarrassing because Beattie is the first woman to head the Service, and the hearing marked her debut on the Hill.

    Got my vote!

  2. Naga,

    This kind of fleshes out what Dr. Paul meant about Young standing up to enviros. Maybe Paul knows what he's doing.

  3. Paul's no stranger to earmarks himself...

    What makes you say that? Has he voted for many?

  4. I used to think somewhat highly of the Club for Growth myself. However, as a libertarian, I have learned to realize they are a lot worse and less "small government" than it appears.

    The Club for Growth has supported a lot of terrible candidates and has also targeted for defeat candidates because of anti-war and pro-gay rights and civil liberties stances , among other things.

    Yeah, Don Young is a pork king and sucks for that. Though I do recall him making quite the stand 30 years ago against environmentalist nuts.

    But using a Club for Growth endorsement for or against a candidate means absolutely nothing.

  5. There's crazy environmentalism, and then there's sane environmentalism.

    I don't put much stock in a group of people who barely know what the *Internet* is to be able to tell the difference.

  6. What makes you say that? Has he voted for many?

    He's fairly famous for slipping them into bills in committee, and then voting against the whole bill on the Floor (where, one presumes, he *knows* it will pass).

  7. If walruses were about to become extinct due to excessive harvesting of their penis bones, and someone wanted to try to prevent that by banning the harvesting of walrus penises, would that be crazy environmentalism or sane environmentalism?

  8. BTW, its great that McCain 2008 is paying to place a banner ad for their fantastic "celebrity ad." directly below the ad for Welch's McCain book.

    ( I know that it is unintentional and just based on content matching).

  9. Hope you enjoy your vacation up there, Radley. Some mighty good bud up there. Although most of the stuff here in Seattle is on par with it, there were one or two strains I found up there that were truly "one-hit shit," even if you smoke every day.

  10. He's fairly famous for slipping them into bills in committee, and then voting against the whole bill on the Floor (where, one presumes, he *knows* it will pass).

    It may be fair to presume he knows it will pass, but one can also presume he *doesn't want* it to pass. If his was the deciding vote, he would still vote no.

  11. Elemenope

    What makes you say that? Has he voted for many?

    He's fairly famous for slipping them into bills in committee, and then voting against the whole bill on the Floor (where, one presumes, he *knows* it will pass).

    Also, that is a round-about way of saying "no." Nuance, if you will.

  12. "The Club for Growth has supported a lot of terrible candidates and has also targeted for defeat candidates because of anti-war and pro-gay rights and civil liberties stances , among other things."

    I'd like an example or three of this. In the races I've seen the CfG supports the most fiscally conservative candidates. Yes, those candidates may be pro-war and anti-gay rights, but those stances are not what drives the CfG endorsement. They are incidental to the fiscally conservative stance of the endorsed candidate.

    As to the Ron Paul issue, Paul does play the earmark game. He requests a variety of earmarks that are included in bills. Yes, Paul may vote against the final bill, but he's smart enough to know the bills will pass anyway. He's a clever one, that Paul, since he can really play both sides of the fence on this issue. Young has a lot of power over individual Congressmen's earmark allocations. If Paul helps out Young its likely that Paul will be able to steer more pork to his district. If Paul were to endorse Parnell and Young won he'd likely see his earmark requests go unnoticed by Young. And if Young asked for an endorsement and Paul stayed neutral, Young would likely also hold that against him.

  13. He puts earmarks into bills he knows will pass because he's agains them?

    The word "roundabout" is going to be awful sore tomorrow morning.

  14. The Club for Growth has supported a lot of terrible candidates and has also targeted for defeat candidates because of anti-war and pro-gay rights and civil liberties stances, among other things.

    Not exactly, but they've had a lot more success knocking off in primaries economically liberal Republicans who are also socially liberal or anti-war than they have knocking off economically liberal Republicans who are social conservatives or pro-war. For that reason, if they truly didn't care one way or the other about social issues or the war, it would still make sense for them to target social liberals (who could possibly be defeated in a primary) instead of social conservatives (where their efforts, experience has shown, would be wasted.) It's difficult to lose in a primary unless you upset many wings of your party.

    Club for Growth opposition to guys like Rep. Young has generally not been enough. Club for Growth opposition to guys like Gilchrist has, because other groups were involved too.

  15. lmnop,

    He's fairly famous for slipping them into bills in committee

    Playing fast and loose with the truth there. He is fairly famous for passing on virtually every earmark anyone in his district requests (weeding out only the insanely stupid, IIRC) to committee. There is no "slipping them into bills" in the sense that is generally thought of.

  16. Joe

    He puts earmarks into bills he knows will pass because he's agains them?

    The word "roundabout" is going to be awful sore tomorrow morning.

    Let's clarify pronoun usage. That could mean:

    "He puts earmarks into bills he knows will pass because he's against earmarks?"

    Obviously not. He put earmarks in the bills.

    "He puts earmarks into bills he knows will pass because he's against the bills?"

    Obviously. He voted against the bill.

    He is against the bills. He puts earmarks in so that in the event they do pass... yada yada yada.

  17. I'm in Anchorage, Alaska this morning, wrapping up a vacation.

    Cool, while you're there you can go to my brother's house and give my niece a birthday hug from her uncle.

    On second thought, that may be a little creepy.

  18. "Paul's no stranger to earmarks himself, so perhaps that explains why he's not much bothered by Young's frivolity with taxpayer money."

    Gee, really, ya think? Take the blinders off, genius.

  19. If walruses were about to become extinct due to excessive harvesting of their penis bones, and someone wanted to try to prevent that by banning the harvesting of walrus penises, would that be crazy environmentalism or sane environmentalism?

    Well, let's see, now. My thing (when it comes to species preservation) is that genetic diversity in the wild is an unbridled good thing. Why?

    For example, malaria is the leading cause of death for humanity *by far* *throughout history*. Most approaches for combating Malaria (not as a holding action with anti-malarial drugs, but actual cure) has to do with studying the mechanics of hemogenesis and hemolysis in humans. Many different species of higher animals carry very slight (and occasionally substantial) differences in their hemoglobin structures, and studying these has helped scientists understand how different human populations (with slight differences in hemoglobin formation and hemolysis) are differentially resistant (or not) to malarial protozoa.

    On the other side, there is the (rapidly vanishing and unsustainable) short term economic benefit to clubbing walruses to make statues out of their dicks.

    Hmm, making a species available for scientific inquiry in how to defeat the greatest killer of mankind, or short-term stagnant economic effects on a local tribe.

    Which one is crazy?

  20. Big RP supporter, but I'm not thrilled about this endorsement.

    Dammit, I want someone PERFECT. (kidding...sort of)

  21. Unless Parnell is against the War then I don't see the anything hypocritical here.

  22. "Playing fast and loose with the truth there. He is fairly famous for passing on virtually every earmark anyone in his district requests (weeding out only the insanely stupid, IIRC) to committee. There is no 'slipping them into bills' in the sense that is generally thought of."

    That is exactly how earmarks are "slipped into bills." Staff of individual Congressmen pass along their earmark requests to Appropriations Committee staff and these earmarks are inserted into the various bills' committee reports based on that member's allocation in each bill. How else do you think earmarks get "slipped into bills"?

    Paul plays the game exactly the same as any other Representative. The only difference is that Paul votes against the bill in the full House. However, Paul knows that bill will become law. After all, it's not like the government isn't going to be given money to run. Paul counts on his colleagues' votes to pass a bill that contains his earmarks. He's got the approprations game figured out.


  23. How else do you think earmarks get "slipped into bills"?

    I was thinking in terms on the omnibus bills that sometimes arent printed out before being voted on. All kinds of things get "slipped" into them without anyone other than the specific committee, and sometimes just one committee member knowing.

    A few years ago, a WI state rep managed to get the law allowing parents to serve their minor children alcohol in restaurants overturned (well, it was overturned by the state house) by putting it in a bill and not telling anyone. No one actually read it to notice it. Someone eventually picked up on it, I dont think it passed the senate and the rep almost lost his next reelection over it, despite it being a safe seat.

    ^^^That is the kind of thing I mean when I say "slipped into a bill".

  24. Paul counts on his colleagues' votes to pass a bill that contains his earmarks.

    "Counts on" is loaded language that implies Paul secretly wants the bill to pass, even though he is voting against it.

    He may. I don't know what's in his mind, but I think the evidence is against it.

  25. robc,

    Occasionally earmarks get put into a bill at the last minute due to a manager's amendment. However, most earmarks are contained in the regular committee reports produced by the different appropriations subcommittees in both houses. The vast majority of earmarks aren't secret and there's plenty of disclosure for anyone who cares to look.

    When folks criticize Paul for slipping earmarks into a bill, they are (I assume) criticizing him for doing what almost every other Representative does. It has nothing to do with last-minute chicanery. He's playing the earmark game just like Don Young does, the only difference being that Don Young is the one who actually gets to determine how much money various Republicans receive in each appropriations bill. People expect Paul to be different on this issue based on his proven fiscal conservatism. They are wrong to hold this hope.

  26. "'Counts on' is loaded language that implies Paul secretly wants the bill to pass, even though he is voting against it.

    "He may. I don't know what's in his mind, but I think the evidence is against it."

    No, it implies that Paul knows the bill will pass. He may very well want it to fail but he knows that there is no way the federal government will not receive the money it needs to operate for the next fiscal year.

    I'm not really criticizing Paul here, I'm just pointing out the truth. Paul plays the earmark game very well. I think he truly does want lower government spending, but he knows that the money is going to be spent regardless of his wishes so he wants to steer as much of it to his district. Some may condemn him for doing so because they view this as compromising his principles. I view it as him being realistic. Perhaps he should renounce earmarks on principle but that wouldn't really accomplish much.

    However, if his desire to see his earmark gravy train continue is what led him to endorse Young (as I suspect it was), then Paul deserves all the condemnation that we can muster. That will mean that he is putting his pork above his principles which makes him little different than Don Young or Ted Stevens.

    (BTW, how do you quote other users here? I can't seem to figure out any other way of doing it except by using quotation marks.)

  27. (BTW, how do you quote other users here? I can't seem to figure out any other way of doing it except by using quotation marks.)

    "less than sign"blockquote"Greater than sign" at the beginning and "less than sign"/blockquote"Greater than sign" at the end.

  28. "less than sign"blockquote"Greater than sign" at the beginning and "less than sign"/blockquote"Greater than sign" at the end.

    Thanks.

  29. How many earmarks "passed on" to Committee by Ron Paul are constitutional? If it's for a bridge improvement to a post road in his district, I guess he is on sound ground. If it is to fund a Tex/Mex Food Research Institute then one could conclude his Support the Constitution stance was a fraud.

  30. That is:
    <blockquote>text</blockquote>

    (I just figured out how to print that.)

    🙂

  31. Isn't it a legislative tactic to introduce a bill (that the the person himself is against) you "know" the outcome of the vote just to prove a point? Ron Paul also introduced a resolution explicitly declaring war on Iraq even though he was going to vote against it, and he "knew" it would lose.

    How is that different? In that case a person is introducing the bill and voting against it. In Ron Paul's earmarks, he introduces them and votes against them. Why is the standard here is introducing bills instead of voting on them?

  32. "But that hardly seems worth Paul sticking his neck out for this idiot... "

    You have to be joking! There is no safer political neck on the planet than Ron Paul's. Any other politician who published racist diatribes of the sort Ron Paul did would have been booed out of the public eye. The mainstream media barely mentioned it, much less made a big deal of it. Ron Paul is the libertarian Teflon Don. And nothing he can do or say will make his zombie followers stop sending him cash.

  33. one could conclude his Support the Constitution stance was a fraud

    Since he votes against it, he is clearly supporting the constitution.

    I think he would be on slightly stronger ground if he didnt gatekeep at all, but passed on ALL requests from his district. I think he does pass on effectively all, but that he does on occassion stamp one out himself shows he is, at least, looking at them.

    Marc - I agree with your 2:28 post, I was just objecting to the term "slipping". "Slipping" to me means those last minute manager's amendments you referred to at 2:23. Paul isnt doing that, he is following standard procedure. No "slipping" at all, he is doing it out in the open.

  34. earmarks account for about 1 % of the total federal budget.

    earmarked projects DO NOT increase the amount of money the government will spend that year.

    "earmarking" means reserving funds(that would be spent anyway) for specific projects.

    Paul passes on every earmark request from his district (and sometimes from outside) unless it's insane, as someone above noted. It's not hypocritical because earmarks don't increase government spending.

    Paul feels that by requesting earmarks on behalf of his constituents that he is representing them, and bringing back to the district their rightful money.

    creech -- except for army corps of engineer (bridges, harbors, etc.) or military projects, earmarks usually come in the form of grants to local organizations. In those cases, the locals (or state) are the ones who thought up and are doing the project, not the feds. The feds are just giving them extra money (that Paul feels like is rightfully the locals' anyway).

  35. Isn't it a legislative tactic to introduce a bill (that the the person himself is against) you "know" the outcome of the vote just to prove a point?

    No, it's not. It happens very rarely. Representatives and Senators often introduce bills they are in favor of but know will not pass. It's much, much rarer for them to introduce a bill they are not in favor of just to make a point.

    Ron Paul also introduced a resolution explicitly declaring war on Iraq even though he was going to vote against it, and he "knew" it would lose.

    Maybe he did. It seems that the Representatives who introduced a bill to reinstate the draft pulled a similar move. I can think of no other example of this, though. It just isn't common.

    How is that different? In that case a person is introducing the bill and voting against it. In Ron Paul's earmarks, he introduces them and votes against them. Why is the standard here is introducing bills instead of voting on them?

    In the case you mentioned above, he was doing something to make a political point. How is that similar to him requesting earmarks? He knows the appropriations bills will pass without his vote. He knows that when they do his district will get millions of dollars in pork. The standard I'm using is that Paul knows what legislation will pass and what won't. If you attach something to legsislation you know will pass even if you vote against it, then that (to some) is a betrayal of your principles.

    I think he would be on slightly stronger ground if he didnt gatekeep at all, but passed on ALL requests from his district. I think he does pass on effectively all, but that he does on occassion stamp one out himself shows he is, at least, looking at them.

    I'd be curious to know if this is true. To come "out of the closet," as it were, I used to work for a U.S. Senator on appropriations issues. Committee staff always asked us to rank the requests we passed along. They were the ultimate arbiter of what got in the bill but they almost always just inserted our requests in order of our ranking until our allocation of money ran out.

    I find it hard to believe that Paul's staff would just give them a random list of earmarks and say to them "here, you guys figure out which ones to fund." Committee staff doesn't really have the time to investigate these requests and determine which ones should be funded. They want the member's staff to do that.

  36. I must say, thank you Ron Paul.

    In polling done of the state so far, Don Young is trailing Ethan Berkowitz, the Democratic candidate, by 10 points. Parnell is polling 5 points ahead of Berkowitz.

    What this means is that it's almost a certainty that Don Young won't hold this seat come January 2009, it's just a question of whether it's kept by the Republicans, or taken by the Democrats. Getting Don Young through the primary is the first step to getting that seat flipped.

    So, as a Democrat, thank you Ron Paul.

    As to Don Young and his prolific pork, anyone unconvinced about the extent of it should look up the Coconut Road Interchange earmark.

    Don Young, who I'll remind you is (R-AK), had a fundraiser thrown for him by Daniel Aronoff, a Florida Real Estate Developer, at which $40,000 was raised for Don Young's campaign.

    Shortly thereafter, Don Young inserted an earmark in a transportation bill allocating $10 million for widening and improving Interstate 75 in Florida. This was the same transportation bill that contained the money for the Bridge to Nowhere.

    After both the House and Senate had voted on the bill, the bill went into the enrollment process, where the bill is edited for things like misplaced commas, grammatical errors, and typos. Someone from Don Young's staff edited the bill, while in enrollment, to mandate that the 10 million dollars go to improvements to the Coconut Road interchange only, which was conveniently located next to property owned by Daniel Aronoff.

    You might think "Doesn't this happen all the time?" The answer is, no, it doesn't. This particular bill contained 6,373 earmarks, and only this one specific earmark was edited in this way. A Congressional Research Service report about the constitutional impact of bills altered in this manner said, basically, "You can't legally do it, and if it happens to occur and Congress doesn't fix it, it's a slam-dunk case to challenge the constitutional basis of the law in court."

    The locals were so opposed to this that they came back to Congress and asked that the money be allowed to be used for the purpose specified in the bills passed by the House and Senate, which was widening Interstate 75 generally. They voted on three separate occasions to send the money back to Congress rather than to spend it as was allocated. The money was eventually spent on the purpose specified in the bill as passed by both chambers, for widening Interstate 75.

    Think about that. Don Young was involved in pork that was so awful that the people getting the money said "No thanks. If that's what you want us to spend this money on, you can keep it."

  37. Paul plays the earmark game very well. I think he truly does want lower government spending, but he knows that the money is going to be spent regardless of his wishes so he wants to steer as much of it to his district.

    Bingo. If the money's going to be flushed anyway, it may as well be flushed in his district.

  38. There's crazy environmentalism, and then there's sane environmentalism.

    And who makes all the noise?
    NO NUKES! NO NUKES! NO NUKES!
    *sigh*

  39. Marc,
    Ron Paul doesn't "play the earmark game". He votes against unconstitutional every spending bill that comes to the floor. He puts in earmarks to protect his district. In any spending bill scenario there are three options:

    1) The Bill is defeated. This is the outcome Ron Paul wants and his votes consistently reflect that.

    2) The Bill passes despite Paul's oposition, and his constituents get taxed to pay for all kinds of unconstitutional spending projects everywhere but in their own district.

    3) The Bill passes despite Paul's opposition, and his constituents get taxed to pay for all kinds of unconstitutional spending projects everywhere including their own district.

    Ron Paul isn't playing any "games". He's enough of a realist to know that his corrupt, constitution-hating coworkers aren't going to do the right thing and vote with him. And he's protecting his constituents the best he can by ensuring that the least of the two bad outcomes is the one the comes to pass.

  40. Ron Paul isn't playing any "games". He's enough of a realist to know that his corrupt, constitution-hating coworkers aren't going to do the right thing and vote with him. And he's protecting his constituents the best he can by ensuring that the least of the two bad outcomes is the one the comes to pass.

    I don't disagree with your description of how Ron Paul works. I do, however, think that it's a game. He gets the best of both worlds -- he stands up for the Constitution and votes against bloated federal spending bills. He also is able to ensure that his district benefits from those bloated spending bills. Ron Paul is a politician. He knows what to do to stay in power. He thinks that earmarks enable him to do so. He plays the game just like anyone else there. Call it what you will, but it's a crafty political strategy. I'm not condemning him for doing it. I will condemn him, however, if his love of earmarks is what led him to endorse the reprehensible Don Young for re-election. I can think of no other reason why he would do so.

  41. So let me get this straight, one guy supports abolishing the income tax and the other supports a one-year earmark moratorium. And we're supposed to be excited about the one-year moratorium guy?

  42. Paul is a fraud and a crank.

    he doesn'tjust put in Pork for his district either, he votes for Pork for other districts as well. Probably for buddies of his like Young.

    He also claims alot of stuff is 'unconstitutional', and is dead wrong about it. Further he then contradicts himself on other votes on similar legislation. See being lone member to vote against condemning Hamas, although there are other bills were he does condemn similar groups. Romania being one coming to mind

  43. Thanks FDS, I was just going to explain that.

    I wish libertarians would understand that Earmarks are a GOOD thing. The money that has been appropriated is ALREADY going to to be spent. The question is whether it is spent by a bureaucrat or by congress. Paul represents a group of people who deserve their money back, and earmarks are the next best thing.

    People who complain about earmarks are being sold on a distraction. Government will not shrink one iota by getting rid of earmarks. The pipeline needs to be cut, the trough needs to dry up if we want these people to stop spending our money. And that means eliminating the income tax, having sound money (whether gold or other) not controlled by a banking cartel, eliminating social security and medicare, and ending our overseas empire. Everything else is just talk.

  44. The point should be made in this debate about the proper use of earmarks is that Don Young is in a league of his own in terms of earmarks and spending. The transportation reauthorization bill he authored (and named TEA-LU -- the "LU" was for his wife, the egomaniac) was a monstrosity not because it contained the "Bridge to Nowhere" but because it was a huge increase in federal transportation spending. His earmarks, as noted above, have at times been conveniently written in ways that have little public benefit but much private benefit for friends of Young.

    The guy is a scumbag, pure and simple. He certainly doesn't share Ron Paul's view on federal spending. The guy is the perfect picture of a big government "conservative." Paul's endorsement of him is a sign that Paul is much more of a politician than many folks think. Paul has principles, sure, but this illustrates the fact that he's willing to bend them in favor of political expediency.

  45. But I'd imagine that many of the people who donated to Paul's presidential run in support of his opposition to the war and his support for a limited, fiscally responsible federal government will be pretty disappointed by his move to keep a guy like Young in office.

    Any Ron Paul donors who weren't already disappointed in him never will be.

    All his "no" votes taken together haven't reduced federal spending by a cent, and his marvelous speeches to the CSPAN engineers in the middle of the night haven't had much effect either. The only difference his membership in the House has ever made has been through the federal spending he demanded for his district. (And don't give me this BS about how he voted against it -- if he really didn't want taxpayer money to be spent on these things he would never have requested the earmarks in the first place.)

    Ironic, isn't it, that he's so damn sly and pragmatic about the earmark game, while he's utterly idealistic and ineffective when it comes to the defending liberty game.

  46. I'm assuming these are the same pollsters who figured Stevens would lose his primary race to Dave Cuddy. How'd that turn out?

    Stevens said on Anchorage TV last night that the results matched his internal polls and that his polls show him winning in November. "We're going to run and we're going to win" was his statement. Ted's a pretty sharp cookie.

  47. This hoopla over email needs to stop. Firstly, getting rid of earmarks will NOT get rid of the spending; rather, the executive branch will apportion the money budgeted rather than Congress. Furthermore, this would be un-Constitutional, as Congress exercises the Constitutional power of the purse.

    Secondly, if your concern is over the the moneyed influence factor, what makes you think that the problem won't be as bad, or worse, with the executive branch? I'm sure the mega corporations who are donating huge amounts to Obama and McCain are looking for more than just virtue in either of them winning.

    Thirdly, the Club for Growth is no libertarian free market organization. Rather, their agenda is more corporatist delivered with free market rhetoric.

    Ron has endorsed candidates who don't share his views on everything. Roscoe Bartlett, a candidate he's endorsed from Maryland, is strongly pro-War. Not every Congressional Candidate out there is like B.J. Lawson and is a top notch candidate who agrees with Ron on everything and has a chance to win. He's going to have to work with people with whom he has disagreement, often strong disagreement, on important issues if he's to see his agenda advance and movement build. While Ron Paul is the most principled guy out there, he's also very much a political pragmatist.

  48. All the usual suspects are criticizing earmarks again. Being anti-earmark, like McCain and the Beltway types, is a way to seem anti-spending while actually strengthening executive power. Earmarks do not increase spending; they are congressional allotments of proposed spending. If money is not directed by Congressman X to the public library in Topeka, it goes to the presidency, where the federal agencies spend it. Earmarks are, in effect, a legislative blow at executive supremacy. A very minor one, it is true, but you can tell by the neocon yelps, not to mention the opposition of the Club for Growth, that earmarks are comparatively a good thing. So it is no contradiction for Ron Paul to request earmarks that his constituents want. He votes against the spending, of course, but if the earmark goes through, that's better than Bush and Cheney getting the dough for their nefarious scheme.

  49. earmarks comprise less than 1% of the federal budget, so self-proclaimed fiscal conservatives need to find a real issue to bitch about. As for Congressmen appropriating the money for their districts, if they don't someone else will so I don't fault them for doing what their voters ask them to do. As for Young and Stevens, Alaska wouldn't exist if it wasn't for the earmarks they got for this state. Come live out in the Bush (rural Alaska) and explain to them how they are supposed to live without money for infrastructure. I am not all for it but this is not a black and white issue and don't think that it is.

  50. Pablo, I should have read your post first. You said it much more succintly than I did.

  51. FatDrunkAndStupid:

    Ron Paul doesn't "play the earmark game". He votes against unconstitutional every spending bill that comes to the floor.

    I've heard of plenty of bad spending bills in my day, but what what on earth is an "unconstitutional" one supposed to be? Would that be a bill containing an expenditure that violates a specific prohibition of the Constitution, e.g., a grant for churches to teach religion, or would it apply to any spending bill you believe does not "provide for the ... general welfare of the United States?" Sorry, but I'm having a hard time swallowing the "I don't like it, therefore it must be unconstitutional" mentality that made Paul and his apostles (in-)famous.

  52. Wow, it seems some reporters say Paul gave an endorsment, while others like the wall street journal say (That's why there was no commercial with Ron Paul asking his followers in Alaska to give Young an 18th term. "Dr. Paul said some nice things but it shouldn't be taken as an endorsement," Benton said.)so if the wall street journal wrote this and the reason wrote this article, who's right and who's wronge. Hmmm.

  53. Ear marks bring the tax dollars for project back home, don't they? Projects make jobs! I have no knowledge of "bridge to nowhere" YET.

    Hummm..Poster child, indeed..This Administration could start a campaign against anyone among them who bucks the system, and it seems to be common practice of those stick pokers and chicken bullies in the house to put out one who is different than they are..anything to get them booted..

    The "stick poke" master of the universe..Holds hostage anything of value and will stop at nothing for control of energy, food, water..and then tax the crap out of us all for the devil deed as they hug up the corporate favor.

    Bush's witch hunt.

    I trust Ron Paul's judgement..
    We have someone who will tell the American people the truth, I have no reason NOT to trust him or his word. I have every reason NOT to trust the Bush gang.

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