Sometimes political battles are lost before they’re won

By John Toth / Editor and Publisher

When I ran for the position of Brazoria County Judge in 1998, I challenged the incumbent. My chances of winning were not good, but I wanted to do something else - spread a message and hope that people would listen.

It was a last-minute decision and mostly idealistic, but I felt that the points I had to make were important – lower taxes, more efficient government, doing only what’s good for the county financially.

I was young, full of ideas and energy, and I was able to raise some eyebrows and express my views.

People listened. Not enough voted for me, but that’s O.K. The message eventually reached many more ears, and we were able to help make some changes in county government that benefited everyone.

I’m generalizing a bit. I don’t want to risk opening old wounds. It would serve no purpose.

I’m only bringing this up because I want to make a point about why Kentucky U.S. Senator Rand Paul stood for hours on-end on the Senate floor in the late hours of Feb. 8 and talked about the hypocrisy of opposing and criticizing our national deficit for years and then voting to add to it – a lot.

He brought up important points that he wanted heard, knowing that at the end, the Senate would pass the massive budget deal, anyway.

“Tonight, you could feel the frustration and embarrassment growing in Congress as we exposed the hypocrisy of Republicans who are joining in an unholy alliance and spending free-for-all with Democrats at the expense of the American people and our party’s supposed principles,” Paul tweeted after the bill passed.

And then, the talking points about families, children and military were flying all over the cable channels as the spin was turned on to justify that we just added another half trillion dollars to the national debt.
This, on top of a trillion dollars added a few weeks earlier.

Paul and I don’t agree on everything, but we do agree on fiscal conservatism.

You cannot scream for eight years that the deficit is too high when the Democrats are in power, and then add to it substantially under a Republican-controlled government. That is hypocrisy.

There is another problem. When you increase spending, you also have to increase income.

Government’s income comes from taxing us, so you’d think that we’d be facing a tax increase.
But we have received a tax reduction, some of us more than others. We’ll see if the trickle-down economics theory that has not worked so well in the past works this time.

My concern is that while we are spending a lot more, our financial base will shrink, and we’ll reach deficit numbers that have never been seen.

Remember the last time there was a surplus? It was a very long time ago, created by the Clinton Administration and a Republican Congress that was complaining about the deficit and then did something about it. They eliminated it.

“How come you were against President Obama’s deficits, and then how come you’re for Republican deficits?“ asked Paul during his stand. Good question.

Paul has taken a lot of heat from his own party for holding up the vote. I took a lot of heat for running against an incumbent, But we both had an ulterior motive, and we rolled the dice, hoping that even if we didn’t hit the jackpot, we’d stay in the game for a while and drive home some points.

We both lost and won. Me on a much smaller scale; Paul on a national scale. But our motives were similar. And they were both well worth it.