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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Hilarious Proof That Legislators Don't Read Bills

So far I've been extremely impressed with Senator Rand Paul, not only for his stalwart commitment to liberty and sanity in public policy, but for his hilarious trolling of Senate legislators in order to advance these principles and demonstrate that most legislators only pay lip service to them, like when Rand attached an amendment to a bill calling on Senators to adopt Barack Obama's own words as a presidential candidate to describe the "sense of the Senate" on his recent intervention into Libya:

"The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation."

Paul's office said:

"...the measure aims to put the Senate on record affirming Congress as the body with constitutional authority on matters of war."

This left Senate Democrats with the impolitic choice of opposing the President's illegal war in Libya, or standing with the President while angering antiwar Democrats and essentially implying that the President does have the power to unilaterally authorize military action-- something that sounds more like a Bush-era neocon doctrine than something honest "liberals" (in the modern sense of that word) would support.

Taking Legislative Trolling to the Next Level:

But Rand Paul needs to take his legislative trolling to the next level. If he really wants to embarrass Congress, he needs to pull off what one Texas state politician did back in 1971: he got the entire Texas Legislature to unanimously pass a resolution honoring the Boston Strangler. According to Snopes:

"Back in 1971, Rep. Tom Moore, Jr. of Waco, Texas — knowing that his fellow legislators in the Texas House of Representatives often passed bills and resolutions without fully reading or understanding them — pulled an April Fool's joke on the House by sponsoring a resolution commending Albert de Salvo for his unselfish service to 'his county, his state and his community.' The resolution read, in part:
'This compassionate gentleman's dedication and devotion to his work has enabled the weak and the lonely throughout the nation to achieve and maintain a new degree of concern for their future. He has been officially recognized by the state of Massachusetts for his noted activities and unconventional techniques involving population control and applied psychology.'"

The measure was passed unanimously by the Texas House and Moore had to withdraw the resolution and explain he was just trying to prove a point, and prove one he did!

What Rand Should Do Next:

I propose that Rand Paul do something similar and sneak an embarrassing amendment into a bill without the rest of the Senate even realizing it. Or better yet, repealing ObamaCare or requiring a balanced budget with some sneaky legislating would force the everyone to take another vote to repeal Rand's provision, putting them on the record one way or the other, and embarrassing everybody for not reading the bills.

Then Rand could push hard for a debate and vote on a "read the bills" act and have a pretty solid case for passing it. Or maybe even better yet, he could sneak "read the bills" provisions into legislation without anyone knowing and then when it passes, they'll be hard pressed to repeal it because the fact that they didn't even know it was there proves that we need to keep it! How's that for an ironic twist? Troll, Rand! Troll! Our legislators need to actually read something before deciding that it should become a freaking law!

Hat tip to reddit.

Wes Messamore,
Editor in Chief, THL
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