Filibustering Conservative's Wish-list Wreaks Havoc
||Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)
||Friday, June 29, 2012
Rand Paul has sabotaged two votes in America by insisting on unrelated amendments, writes Nick O'Malley in Washington.
FROM the vantage point of Australia it could be hard to see the link between Washington DC, abortion, flood insurance and access to an increased flow of concealed handguns.
But, from Kentucky, it apparently all makes sense. The common thread here is Rand Paul, the Republican son of Ron Paul, the indefatigable libertarian presidential candidate. Rand is named for Ron's idol, Ayn Rand.
This week Paul, the junior senator for Kentucky, sank a move to grant the government of the District of Columbia the right to control its budget by adding a few odds and ends of his own to the bill just as it was about to be voted on (DC is not a state and so must have Congress approve its budget).
Advertisement: Story continues below
Paul's shopping list included a move to ban the district spending its money on abortions and an amendment to force it to recognise concealed weapon permits issued by more right-thinking states. That would be supported by another that would see DC ''establish an office for the purpose of facilitating the purchase and registration of firearms by DC residents''. This was in response to the shocking revelation that DC only has one licensed gun dealer.
In a final flourish, he included in his package an amendment to restrict the activities of unions.
The legislation was pulled on Wednesday, and the citizens of DC will have to wait even longer for a little representation to go with their taxation.
Paul, like his father a politician of not inconsiderable energy, also managed this week to sabotage a bill that would have extended a national flood insurance program for another five years. Just in time for hurricane season. This he achieved by declining to support it unless a vote was held on legislation declaring that human life begins at conception.
''Really, on flood insurance?'' said the Democrat Senate majority leader, Harry Reid. ''After all the work that's been put on this bill, this is ridiculous that somebody says 'I'm not going to let this bill go forward unless I have a vote on when life begins'.''
Others were not quite so mild. The Washington Post had the temerity to suggest Paul, a bellowing small-government cheerleader elected in the Tea Party revolution of 2010, might be a rank hypocrite.
It quoted Paul back to himself. ''I think a lot of things could be handled locally … the more local the better, and the more commonsense the decisions are, rather than having a federal government make those decisions,'' he said during the 2010 campaign.
So why would a small-government advocate intrude so brazenly into the affairs of the District of Columbia?
Some suggest he is signalling to the far right in order to support a presidential campaign of his own down the track, or even a go at Mitt Romney's vice-presidential slot this year.
It seems unlikely, but it would have Democrat tacticians (who still smile at the memory of Sarah Palin bursting onto the national stage) shivering with excitement and blessed relief.
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/world/filibustering-conservatives-wishlist-wreaks-havoc-20120628-2156c.html#ixzz1zC6FNhJZ