Among the disadvantages of spending all one's time on the campaign trail while remaining a member of Congress is that the invisible hand does a poor job of casting votes in the House of Representatives. You really have to be physically present to make your voice heard.
This year, Ron Paul has missed 79% of all House roll call votes, but since taking a more laissez faire approach to securing delegates to the Republican National Convention, the Texas congressman has had time to be ignored in Washington, rather than on the campaign trail, for a change. Yesterday, Paul joined a press conference led by the aptly named Adam Smith, a Washington State Democrat, to speak in opposition to the indefinite detention of American citizens…
Smith has an amendment with Reps. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) and John Garamendi (D-Calif.) that would undo provisions in last year's defense authorization bill and the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force that allow terror suspects captured on U.S. soil to be detained indefinitely.
"I do not believe a republic can exist if you permit the military to arrest American citizens and put them in secret prisons and be denied trial," Paul said of supporting the amendment.
Such crazy talk! Everyone knows the government only makes mistakes on relatively mundane matters of social and economic policy, but would never err in cases of life and death.
It's by this logic that the House voted last week to cut funding for food stamps — government can't run welfare schemes without fraud and abuse. And it's why House conservatives oppose stricter financial regulation — government bureaucrats are incompetents, who only dream of tying up American business in a tangle of regulatory bondage, like a desperate Fifty Shades of Gray-reading housewife. But on matters of national security, government achieves God-like omniscience — because magic.
It's this scale of risk versus competence that allows us to permit teenagers to pilot commercial airliners, while forbidding them from driving cars. Oh, we don't do that? Because that's an insane assessment of potential dangers?
Well, don't tell Congress. This morning, the amendment to bar detention without trial was voted down 238-182, with just 19 Republicans joining Paul in supporting the measure.
Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Tags: Civil Rights, House of Representatives, Ron Paul, Terrorism