Are we being fair to Ron Paul?

H/T News Real Blog:

Apparently Lisa Richards is pretty unhappy with Ron Paul’s earmarks in the scrapped Omnibus spending bill:

The anti-pork, anti-tax-hike, anti-IRS, anti-Fed libertarian Congressman Ron Paul has a dirty little secret: he is a pork-spending bureaucrat who stuffed the latest, and now defunct, $1.3 trillion dollar Omnibus bill with $8 million dollars in earmarks.  This should come as no surprise to anyone who looks at these bills.  Ron Paul has snuck pork into already inflated stimulus packages American taxpayers and the country cannot afford.

Now, I may not agree with Paul’s reasoning regarding earmarks. Apparently he’s against spending, but he feels that IF a spending bill passes, it’s his responsibility to make sure his district gets it’s cut. I’d like to think that I’d be more idealistic, and refuse to even cooperate with any spending bills by putting my earmarks in them, but I’m not Ron Paul and I don’t have to answer to his constituents.

Richards is being unfair, however, in criticizing the projects in the earmarks themselves. She points to the Gulf States Consumer Education Program and points out Paul’s stance that the Federal Government should not be involved in public education. If Richards checked her facts, she’d know that the Gulf States program has nothing to do with public education, and that it’s really something of an R&D program for the commercial fishing industry. Do I think the Fed should be handing out money to private industry for R&D? Of course not, and Paul shouldn’t be for that either, but if you’re going to bash the guy, make sure it’s for the right reasons.

The reality of it is, the current state of things has gotten so bad that it’s very hard to stand on principle. If Paul refuses to earmark and play the game, he risks the chance that his district will pay taxes into the system and get nothing back out. If he plays along, but then votes against the whole bill, he can be against spending, but make sure his district gets their cut in the event that it passes. This is no different than states deliberating on whether to turn down stimulus money. Our city government was encouraged to turn down money for a transportation hub. If they do so, it’s not as if the people in that district are then going to get a tax refund for the unused money; instead it will go to some other district.

The whole thing stinks, and there’s no good clean way out of it. Paul may not be holding fast as a pure Libertarian, but he’s doing far better than many others.

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