Today Representative Stace Nelson (R-19) asked for support of House Concurrent Resolution 1027. HCR1027 is a resolution commending, honoring, and thanking former Congressman Dr. Ron Paul. This should have been a quick resolution and taken very little floor time. Instead Rep Tim Rounds (R-24) decided to bring forth an amendment that deleted everything in the resolution and write something completely different. It should be noted that Rep Rounds is brother to former South Dakota Governor Mike Rounds. Mike Rounds and Stace Nelson are both seeking the Republican nomination for US Senator in South Dakota.
So what does the resolution actually say? Here is the text of this resolution as introduced by Rep Nelson:
A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION, Commending, honoring, and thanking former Congressman Dr. Ron Paul.
WHEREAS, the Honorable Ron Paul served our country with dignity and integrity as a United States Congressman from the State of Texas for twenty-three years; and
WHEREAS, patriot Ron Paul served our country bravely as an active duty member of the United States Air Force as a Flight Surgeon from 1963-1965 and as an Air Force National Guard member from 1965-1968; and
WHEREAS, Dr. Ron Paul inspired generations of Americans to become involved and get active in our government “of the people, by the people, for the people…” by inspiring countless Americans with his promotion of a limited government philosophy; and
WHEREAS, Dr. Ron Paul has remained consistent in his dedication to the principles of life, the free market, and the defense of our United States Constitution; and
WHEREAS, South Dakotans greatly appreciate the sacrifice, dedication, and service of all such patriotic Americans who have done so much to serve our nation:
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the House of Representatives of the Eighty-
Ninth Legislature of the State of South Dakota, the Senate concurring therein, that the Honorable Congressman Dr. Ron Paul is commended, honored, and thanked for his many decades of service to our great nation. Our best wishes are extended to him and his family.
This is a resolution I agree with. As Rep Kaiser (R-3) pointed out during the floor debate: Ron Paul can be seen as the founder of the Tea Party. There are many South Dakota residents with Tea Party or libertarian leanings that would like to thank Dr Paul for his service. During the debate Rep Neslon mentioned he does not agree with all of Dr Paul’s stances, but overall Dr Pauls commitment to liberty is worthy of honoring. I agree.
Having said that, I did not expect the resolution to pass on the House floor. Dr Paul is a leader in the liberty movement, so really only conservative legislators would want to honor him. There might have been a couple of liberal legislator that would also want to honor him for his civil liberties work. But, I fully expected the resolution to fail and be forgotten (I hadn’t even planned on doing a post about the resolution).
Things don’t always go as expected in politics, especially with a US Senate race going on….
Instead of simply speaking against the resolution or voting no, Rounds decided he would make a political statement against the Tea Party and liberty-minded individuals. He proposed an amendment that gutted out Nelson’s resolution and replaced it with a resolution that listed Congressmen that South Dakota had sent to DC in the past (many of whom I would consider horrible legislators). Again, that would have been OK for Rounds to object to the resolution based on the fact Dr Paul is not, nor has he ever been, a resident of South Dakota. But instead Rounds decided to hijack Nelson’s bill; which is considered to be objectionable things one legislator can do to another. Rounds move had nothing to do with the fact Dr Paul is an out of state Congressman. It has everything to do with politics. Rep Rounds acted on behalf of his brother Mike to politically attack Stace Nelson, the Tea Party, fiscal conservatives, and liberty-minded individuals. Whether Mike Rounds had foreknowledge of this attack is irrelevant. Rep Rounds has been around politics enough to know his actions would be tied to those of his brother.
Also during the debate Rep Hajek (R-14) stood to support the bills hijacking. She made it sound like Rep Nelson had come up with this resolution to serve his own self-interest. I wonder if Rep Hajek has bothered to look at the platform and resolutions of the party she represents. The resolution introduced by Rep Nelson was not written by him. Instead this resolution was drafted and adopted by the RNC during the 2013 spring meeting. (The resolutions passed are listed here, the resolution text is here). If Hajek has a problem with resolutions passed by the RNC that is up to her. But it is puzzling that elected members of the Republican party in South Dakota have no idea what their party does or stands for. Perhaps Rep Hajek, and everyone else in Pierre for that matter, should study the party they are a part of and decide if they truly believe the overall principles that their party stands for. Perhaps we would see some party swapping happen in that event…
Finally I would like to mention the fact this hijacking should never have been allowed to happen. Rep Latterell (R-6) made a point of order about the hijacking amendment pursuant to Joint Rule 6E-1:
6E-1. Amendments to be germane to bill. No amendment to a bill or joint resolution may embrace more than one subject, which shall be expressed in the title of the bill.
To call this amendment ‘germane’ is stretching pretty far. The original bill specifically honored one person for stated accomplishments. The amendment lists multiple people, with no specific accomplishments. It could also be argued that the new bill has multiple subjects, especially since Congresswomen Stephanie Herseth Sandlin and Kristi Noem seemed to be added to the amendment as an afterthought. Speaker Gosch could have ended the hijacking right then. But he ruled the amendment was germane, and thus allowed the hijacking to continue.
Going forward I do not think any liberty-minded voters will forget this move by Rounds. The Rounds campaign may believe millions of dollars in the coffers guarantees a victory in the Primary this June. Yet, this move in the SD House may have provided the catalyst needed for conservative activists to rally behind Stace Nelson and expand his network of grass-root supporters. It is one thing to fail voting conservative; sadly, constituents are used to that. It is however a much different issue when a candidate, or the brother of a candidate, directly attacks and disrespects a leader in the liberty movement. The June primary is looking better and better.
PS. Full disclosure: I do support Stace Nelson as the US Senator from South Dakota in the 2014 election. I did not write this post not because he took a political shot at Nelson, that is expected and in itself is not enough to warrant this post. I, like many others I’ve spoken to today, am quite upset that Rounds would so brazenly disrespect Dr Paul, fiscal conservatism, and the liberty movement. It was Rounds disrespectful attack on the liberty movement that made it necessary for me to write this post.