Thursday, July 27, 2006

Pork: the only white meat...for Lamar Smith

After having lived in the Texas 21st Congressional District for a few years, I thought I had a handle on Lamar Smith. I appreciated the fact that he faced a generally angry mob last year just to hear his constituents' comments. I definitely appreciated his listening to my comments on the FairTax, and I appreciated his (office's) writing to me to explain why he didn't support it. (The short answer apparently involves his not having read the bill, it seemed to me.) I also appreciate that he hasn't rubber-stamped the immigration amnesty proposals swirling around Washington at the moment.

And, as it turns out (from the Club for Growth, he scored a 57 out of 100 for being pro-growth. About what I expected, in that regard.

Maybe that's why I'm so disappointed that, per this article, he voted in favor of 19 pork barrel projects ranging from a swimming pool in California to tourism development in Kentucky (I'll save them the money on that: there's this horse race in May...). Each and every time an amendment came up to strip a pork project from a bill, dear Mr. Smith voted to keep it in. Apparently he believes our government isn't already wasting enough money as it is.

And, while I expected Ron "Dr. No" Paul to have the best score, out of the Austin-area Congressional delegation, on these 19 amendments (which he easily did, voting yes on all 19), I would have expected Mr. Smith to have a better score than Lloyd Doggett, the neighboring Democrat. Yet, as it turns out, Mr. Doggett voted yes on three of the amendments, which is three more than were supported by Mr. Smith. Pathetic.

Of course, his November opponent, John Courage, really doesn't provide much of an alternative in that respect. Content to watch Social Security slowly run dry, Mr. Courage also seems to support throwing money at other problems (of course, without mentioning how he intends to fund it), most notably education, in the hope that somehow it'll help, this time. Somehow that doesn't seem terribly pro-growth either.

Sadly, TX-21 seems stuck with no really good choices and another two years of more of the same. But just in case something actually changes, we'll keep an eye open.