Rand's grand stand; filibuster to deny foreign aid wrong tack

Filibuster to deny foreign aid wrong tack

September 20, 2012 

Paul

Sen. Rand Paul must have missed the Libyans who were demonstrating last week in support of the United States.

Paul has lumped the governments of Libya, Egypt and Pakistan together as enemies of the U.S., and he's vowing to hold the Senate hostage until it votes on his plan to end aid to all three countries. (The rest of the Senate wants to approve funding to keep our government running and go home to campaign.)

Paul's antics must be wearing thin even on his filibuster-happy fellow Republicans.

Far more troubling, though, is Paul's shocking lack of understanding.

There's no evidence the Libyan government was behind the killing of four U.S. diplomats. If anything, Libya's elected government is under threat from the same radical forces that attacked the U.S. consulate.

More Libyans demonstrated in support of the U.S. after the attack than there were protesting an anti-Islam video outside the consulate before the attack.

We should be bolstering Libya's wobbly new democracy, not pulling the rug out from under it.

The same is true of Egypt and other fledgling democracies that are struggling to realize the promise of the Arab Spring.

As Sen. John McCain told Politico, "Do we really think it is in our interest to see the economy of Egypt collapse? I don't think so."

Foreign aid makes up less than 1 percent of the U.S. budget, and diplomacy is a much better bargain for taxpayers than war.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is asking Congress to send Egypt more foreign aid, not less.

Paul's slippery grasp of the facts is becoming a recurring theme.

On a recent Sunday morning network news appearance, Paul was flabbergasted when told that the number of government employees has been in decline.

The Brookings Institution reported last month: "Public-sector employment (i.e. federal, state, and local government jobs) declined in 10 of the past 12 months, in sharp contrast to 29 consecutive months of private-sector job growth.

"Indeed, falling public employment has been among the largest contributors to unemployment in the United States since the end of the Great Recession."

Isn't that the kind of thing Kentuckians should expect their senator to know? And if he doesn't, shouldn't we demand better representation?

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