Free Markets, Free People

Rand Paul back-peddling on “no-pork” pledge?

One of the unstated questions many of us who have observed the Tea Party ask is how long before it become co-opted by one of the major parties. Because it is mostly a leaderless movement, that may end up being a very unlikely thing. But what about the candidates it backed? We’re told that 5 Senators and about 30 or so representatives were backed by local and regional Tea Parties and won their elections.

One of those was Rand Paul who, as the son of Ron Paul, came off as particularly libertarian in his approach to his job as a Senator from Kentucky. In fact, during his campaign, he made what his campaign web site labeled "Rand’s no-pork pledge":

Rand Paul appreciates Republican Senator Jim DeMint introducing today a one-year ban on earmark spending and a balanced-budget amendment. Rand strongly supports both initiatives and has made them centerpieces of his campaign for limited government, including his signing of the Citizens Against Government Waste “No pork pledge.”

“The Tea Party movement is an effort to get government under control,” Rand said. “I’m running to represent Kentuckians and to dismantle the culture of professional politicians in Washington. Leadership isn’t photo-ops with oversized fake cardboard checks. That kind of thinking is bankrupting our nation. Senator DeMint understands that and has taken action to stop it.”

It was that pledge along with other such promises that saw Paul ride a wave to electoral victory.

However, and it seems in politics today, there’s always a "however", it seems that even before taking office, Paul is having second thoughts about his pledge. Veronique de Rugy at the Corner points us to a quote in a Wall Street Journal article about Rand Paul which is, well, disappointing, to be kind about it:

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.

Of course there are plenty of ways to "advocate for Kentucky’s interests" without breaking a pledge. That, of course, requires a politician with imagination and the courage of his convictions.

If the quote is accurate, then I have no doubt that Rand Paul will rationalize and justify his way into becoming just another establishment Republican Senator who sells out (in this case, almost immediately) to the “system” in DC.  Another in a long line of  “go-along-to get-along-old-boy-network” that is within virtual inches of destroying this country.

I have to wonder how the Tea Party movement, which spent so much time, effort and money to get this guy elected feels about this quote?  I’ll be interested to hear Paul’s explanation concerning what the WSJ says he said.

But frankly, and assuming he wasn’t misquoted,  it’s another indication that much of our political class is a collection of opportunists whose only real quest is the accumulation of personal power.  They’ll say whatever it takes to win with no intention of sticking with the principles they claim.   While, as Paul says, earmarks are indeed more symbolic that significant, they were significant enough when he was seeking office to take a pledge not to seek them.  A pledge voluntarily taken by someone who, as usual, styled himself as “different” and an “outsider” who was going to change the way we do business.

Instead, at the first opportunity, he back-peddles and attempts to rationalize breaking his pledge to “advocate for Kentucky’s interests”.

I hope it’s not true but in reality it appears to be business as usual.



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21 Responses to Rand Paul back-peddling on “no-pork” pledge?

  • CRASH: We Just Won A Battle, Not The War

    If we took a small break from activism to savor a hard-won victory in this past mid-term election, that is fine.  If you think we are victorious and the fight is complete, you are badly mistaken.  We have only started.  Your break is over; gear up, and move back to the front. (H/T Dale Franks @ QandO)

  • Nothing this guy said is different from what his daddy has done for years.

    • Yeah Ron Paul is big on making speeches about pork and earmarks but when it comes time to vote, he always makes sure his district gets plenty. I don’t care for that sort of politician at all.

  • Not even in office yet, and already trying to see how they can ensure their reelection to do ‘good deeds’ for us, the little people.

  • So what symbol should our 3rd party have?

    This link seems more accurate than the story posted above.

  • I think you guys are jumping to quickly on this.  When you look at the entire context he said that they would evaluate projects on merit.

    • What part of “no-pork pledge” don’t you understand?

      • See, I don’t know if EVERYTHING that could be an earmark IS pork.
        I mean, “My district needs road and bridge funds – seriously guys, this crap needs updating” is quite different than “I would like 5 million dollars for a couple of trees and a rest-stop that will have my name on it”.
        For example – LaHood (the fink) got money for Peoria IL as part of a program to improve and expand I-74.  The whole thing was widened, and the bridges and on/off ramps were fixed.  The old ones were half-blind mergings, and I’m shocked people didn’t die every week (seriously, they made ME nervous to use, and I’m more than a little nuts).  Was it pork?  Well, I suppose…  But it was also something that was actually needed – a 4 lane highway through town with such crappy on and off ramps, and overpasses that I think were from Eisenhower, wasn’t the greatest thing.

        • Great – pass legislation the old fashioned way to get it – like a highway bill. That’s why they are there.

          • So you are saying the process is the important.  Fair enough.  I am not familiar if Rand said he would avoid the process or if he would look at the merits of the project.

  • A little bit of pork to season legislative bills is not a big deal, BUT it is a big deal in setting the tone going forward. If these guys had pushed through major, major spending cuts, and then said, hey earmarks will be allowed for a couple billion a year, then I would be okay with it. (Supposedly earmarks help make legislative sausage easier to create.)
    But coming out of the gate? Jesus wept.

  • Ropes, we need lots and lots of rope….

  • I understood what he said was that he would fight against the kind of earmarks and pork they had been doing, but if there was a bill with some money coming out he would fight for his state to get a share.  Don’t really have a problem with that approach, but it will get old real fast if they don’t actually try to tackle the big spending items. 

    Everyone knows that entitlements have to be curtailed, it is the only way.

    • “fight for his state to get a share”
      Yep, and that’s Dem’s and Obama’s argument too – sharing.   Fair Share.
      Make it sharing and it’s all good, right?  I mean that’s what we teach kids, share.
      Gosh English is a wonderful language – I can claim ‘my fair share’ of the loot and it all sounds so just and proper if I simply omit the ‘of the loot’ part.
      And from there, we can decide we need to ‘share’ the wealth of the rich while we’re at it.
      Earmarks don’t get better just because he claims they’re his state’s share of the loot.

  • We all know some of this pork goes for necessary projects and we know the money has been appropriated already so it doesn’t increase spending for Ron Paul to grab some for his district.

    Problem is, we have huge structural deficits that are going to require entitlement cuts, higher taxes on the wealthy and cuts to social services. Everybody’s going to have to share some pain here. So why does Congress appropriate money in the first place if it’s only going into a pool for legislators to dip in to? And how can we ask virtually everybody to sacrifice to get us out of this jam if we’re still building the Rand Paul Rest Stop?

  • He did not flip.  He told the WSJ the exact thing he’d been saying on the campaign trail, the WSJ later published the transcript of that part of the interview.
    Plus, he is cosponsoring DeMint’s motion to ban earmarks in the GOP caucus.  But he says regardless of what the GOP does, he will not take them outside the committee process, himself.  This has always been his position.
    Is there some benefit to you to pretending he sold out?

  • I was also misinformed about the tea party movement until I joined a great site that made me understand it better. I met many of people there and must admit I was impressed with the way they think. I thought they were all insane people then I discovered why they are the tea party movement. It was because they care about the United States and the constitution.