October 23, 2013

Paul Broun's Outrageous Fortune

Pub Notes

Remember, I am the man who elected Paul Broun to the U.S. Congress. You trusted my endorsement, and Athens delivered a crucial 5,000 votes that made the difference in his first election as our congressman from Georgia’s 10th District. I was convinced that, though conservative, Broun was at least reasonable and, being an Athenian, preferable to the amiable tire dealer from Augusta, who had joked that the University of Georgia could be bombed as far as he was concerned, as long as Sanford Stadium was spared.

I’m slow but not stupid, and it finally dawned on me that Rep. Broun’s sole purpose in Washington is to seize the spotlight through outrageous outbursts to build his image as a radical conservative, one who will fight for the principles that Georgians hold dear, thereby not only insuring his re-election but paving the way for a run to higher office. Rep. Broun is not stupid, either, and he quickly caught on to the way the news works in Washington. Though only a freshman congressman from one district in one state, he didn’t mess around with local issues. He saw immediately that he could go straight to the top and missed no opportunity to call the president a Nazi, a Communist, a Socialist, etc. 

At first, it was difficult for Rep. Broun to be heard amidst the cacophony competing for air time. And the more outrageous his statements, the more he was marginalized as a crackpot, even within his own party. But that was OK, because he was not there to govern but to get attention. Meanwhile, the tea party came along and provided a cohort in which he feels at home.

And, given the news media’s imperative at all times to appear fair and balanced, more and more they turn to Broun as a counterweight to the opinings of some liberal or moderate politician. As Washington has become more polarized, soundbites on both sides of every issue are in demand, especially from those who can be counted on to say something that will be repeated in news clips and parroted by comedians. 

Obamacare, therefore, became the perfect issue for extreme statements and tactics, the very embodiment of everything predicted about Obama: it is socialism, it is communism, it is Nazism. It is the greatest peril our nation has ever faced, and if necessary, we must destroy our nation to save it.

Paul Broun has found his cause, for which he has been preparing all his life. He is a doctor, so he understands better than most people that making health care available to virtually all the American people will undermine our very way of life. He has never had the slightest interest in governing, because he didn’t need to earn his way in front of the cameras, merely talk his way. So now he has not the slightest compunction about being among those who are willing to wreck our national government, to bring it to shutdown and default in the service of his cause—to flog Obamacare (a kick-me target) and elevate himself. 

So, the extreme national embarrassment of his Republican Party means nothing to Broun. He got some good clips out of his party’s debacle, and they can only help in his campaign to represent Georgia in the U.S. Senate. All his Republican opponents oppose Obamacare, and all those who are in the House voted along with Broun to keep the government shut down and default on our debts. Some of them occasionally got to fulminate on-camera, but none of them have Broun’s expertise at putting himself forward. Broun won the camera-time contest, and he comes back to Georgia a proven, uncompromising leader in self-promotion, which is what a Senate campaign is all about.

If Broun wins (when he wins?) he will be a force in Washington among those outsiders like Ted Cruz who have no interest in governing our nation but every intention of promoting themselves by championing reckless radicalism. 

The people of Georgia will be poorly served, but they’ll be endlessly entertained.