Broun – More Headlines For The Sake Of Headlines

Today’s Courier Herald Column:

Congressman Paul Broun is good at making headlines.  Being adored by the far right media or eviscerated by MSNBC are both good for his personal politics, and Broun knows it.  And the way one makes headlines in those spheres is not to suggest good policy, but rather to stake out the most rigid position, leave no room to outflank, and cast anyone with a lesser position as squishy and impure.

Whether these tactics can ever achieve a majority even within the Republican caucus is irrelevant.  Knowing your supporters see you as the “most conservative congressman” is much more important than  implementing genuinely conservative ideas or changing the actual direction in Washington.

Such is the case with Congressman Broun’s – now candidate Broun’s – latest Op-Ed in the New York Times, in which he describes Paul Ryan’s plan to balance the federal budget in 10 years as “nibbling around the edges”.  Broun then throws red meat to a base he hopes will feast on his rhetoric rather than examine his own numbers. Because if they bother to look at his numbers, his candidacy is doomed.

Broun belittles Ryan’s savings by saying that a reduction in the growth of government from 5% projected growth to 3.4% is “not good enough.”  Broun would prefer you not think about the fact that if we had done that 10 years ago – when Republicans had the majority – we wouldn’t be talking about any deficits today.

Broun begins with a sleight of hand, first counting savings from eliminating the Department of Education and Department of Energy at $500 Billion, but talks of returning the money that is saved back to the states.  Well, which is it Dr. Broun? Is that money being saved, or is it being spent better at the local level?

Broun pulls a similar trick with Medicaid, advocating it be transferred to the states in block grants.  Except Medicaid is already a function of state and federal governments, and as we’ve learned here in Georgia during the discussion of both Medicaid expansion and the hospital bed tax, the feds already don’t pay for all of Medicaid’s expenses and the state doesn’t cover the full cost of Medicaid patients to health care providers.  Broun instead relies on catching “fraud, waste and abuse” as a magic wand that will produce his “savings.”

While mixing numbers like a third-grader who forgets to carry the one, Broun offers no  time frame nor even a total amount of savings that would make his plan better than Ryan’s – which itself is only the starting point of negotiation and likely not the ultimate version that will become law.  But to Broun, those details aren’t important.  He just needs you – and anyone else who may consider voting in next summer’s Senate primary – to know that he is more conservative than Paul Ryan…or, more importantly, anyone else considering running for Senate.

Broun has pulled this stunt before.  In July of 2011 as Congress was debating an increase in the debt ceiling, Congressman Broun proposed a bill to lower it.  That’s right, when the US was only taking in enough tax revenue to pay Social Security, Medicare, VA Benefits, and interest on the debt – and borrowing the entire discretionary budget including the entire defense budget, Congressman Broun wanted to force an immediate reduction in not just the deficit, but the outstanding debt.

He got the headlines he wanted.  And he didn’t have to explain that under his bill entitlement payments would have to be immediately cut AND that the entire rest of the federal budget would have to be vaporized in order to begin paying off treasuries.  Because those details don’t matter when someone is proposing something with no chance of passing. When it’s never going to happen, you can say anything you want.

Congressman Broun has a history of publicity stunts to try to make himself look conservative.  His record of actual accomplishment with his proposals – even getting them to a committee vote – is still only aspirational. Conservative voters expect results. Real conservatives deliver them.

Georgia Republicans must now greet these Broun Op-Eds and press releases for what they are -Not policy documents, or even serious proposals –  but mere campaign advertisements; long on headline short on detail, and anything but conservative.


  1. Spacey G says:

    In the PR industry they call all that stuff “earned media.” The PR industry also made up the word “earned” to go along with their phraseology.

  2. ricstewart says:

    I’m sure I could find this at or somewhere, but I’m lazy…
    Did Broun vote to raise the debt ceiling under Bush? How many unbalanced budgets, if any, has Paul Broun voted for?

    • SOWEGA says:

      Extend most Bush-era income tax rates while allowing rates for top-bracket earners to rise (Jan. 1, 2013) (House vote 659) N
      Replace scheduled across-the-board spending cuts with reductions in discretionary caps and mandatory spending (House vote 644) N
      Create a visa program for foreign graduates of U.S. colleges in high-tech fields (House vote 613) Y
      Grant Russia and Moldova permanent normal trade status and provide sanctions against Russian human rights violators (House vote 608) Y
      Repeal the 2010 health care overhaul law (House vote 460) Y
      Cite Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. for contempt of Congress (House vote 441) Y
      Ban indefinite detention of terrorist suspects captured in the United States (House vote 270) Y
      Extend for one year subsidized student loan interest rates financed by a cut in health care spending (House vote 195) N
      Adopt GOP budget with planned spending cuts and changes to entitlement programs (House vote 151) ?
      Ease securities rules to expand small-business access to capital (House vote 132) Y
      Extend a Social Security payroll tax cut, unemployment benefits and Medicare physician payments (House vote 72) N
      Request a bicameral conference on payroll tax cut package (House vote 946) Y
      Amend the Constitution to require a balanced budget (House vote 858) Y
      Ban the use of federal funds for insurance coverage of abortion services (House vote 789) Y
      Allow consideration of measures to implement three trade agreements and to extend U.S. worker aid (House vote 771) Y
      Pass compromise debt limit increase plan and establish future spending limits (House vote 690) N
      Extend Federal Aviation Administration authorization and eliminate subsidies for certain small airports (House vote 611) Y
      Overhaul patent law (House vote 491) N
      Require presidential report on combat operations in Libya and declare opposition to use of ground troops (House vote 411) Y
      Extend certain provisions of Patriot Act for four years (House vote 376) N
      Require foreign terrorist suspects to be tried only by military commissions (House vote 357) Y
      Adopt GOP budget with planned spending cuts and changes to entitlement programs (House vote 277) Y
      Prevent EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions to address climate change (House vote 249) Y
      Strike funding for F-35 Joint Strike Fighter alternative engine (House vote 46) Y
      Repeal the 2010 health care overhaul law (House vote 14) Y
      Extend Bush-era income tax cuts for two years (House vote 647) N
      Provide a path to legal status for some children of illegal immigrants (House vote 625) N
      Reauthorize NASA programs through fiscal 2013 (House vote 561) Y
      Authorize intelligence programs for fiscal 2010 (House vote 558) N
      Allow for duties on imports deemed unfairly subsidized by Chinese currency policy (House vote 554) N
      Provide funding to avert teacher layoffs and extend increased Medicaid payments for states (House vote 518) ?
      Change overisght of offshore drilling and lift oil spill liability cap (House vote 513) N
      Provide $58.8 billion in emergency spending, including war and disaster relief funds (House vote 474) N
      Limit use of new Afghanistan War funds to troop withdrawal activities (House vote 432) N
      Overhaul financial services industry regulation (House vote 413) N
      Broaden campaign finance disclosure and reporting rules (House vote 391) N
      Bar funds to transfer or release detainees held at Guantanamo Bay to the United States (House vote 335) Y
      Allow for repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” law banning openly gay servicemembers (House vote 317) N
      Strike authorization for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter alternative engine (House vote 316) Y
      Clear overhaul of the nation’s health insurance system and require most individuals to buy health insurance (House vote 165) N
      Overhaul the nation’s health insurance system and require most individuals to buy health insurance (House vote 887) N
      Restrict federally funded insurance coverage for abortions in health care overhaul (House vote 884) Y
      Establish the government as the sole provider of student loans (House vote 719) N
      Provide $2 billion for the “cash for clunkers” vehicle trade-in program (House vote 682) N
      Overhaul food safety laws (House vote 680) N
      Create a cap-and-trade system to limit greenhouse gas emissions (House vote 477) N
      Limit the number of amendments to the Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations bill (House vote 352) N
      Allow the Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco products (House vote 335) N
      Allow bankruptcy judges to modify certain primary-residence mortgages (House vote 104) N
      Provide $787 billion in tax cuts and spending increases to stimulate the economy (House vote 70) N
      Expand the Children’s Health Insurance Program (House vote 50) N
      Provide up to $14 billion in loans to domestic automakers (House vote 690) N
      Approve final $700 billion program to stabilize financial markets (House vote 681) N
      Approve initial $700 billion program to stabilize financial markets (House vote 674) N
      Require insurers to treat mental illness the same as other medical conditions (House vote 625) N
      Authorize the Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco products (House vote 542) N
      Expand funding for global AIDS programs (House vote 531) N
      Grant mortgage relief to homeowners and provide financing to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (House vote 519) N
      Block a scheduled cut in Medicare payments to doctors (House vote 443) N
      Overhaul surveillance laws and permit dismissal of suits against companies that conducted warrantless wiretapping (House vote 437) Y
      Authorize $14.4 billion for Amtrak over five years (House vote 400) N
      Override Bush veto of federal farm and nutrition programs reauthorization bill (House vote 346) N
      Establish timetable of withdrawing most troops from Iraq (House vote 329) N
      Delay consideration of Colombia free-trade agreement (House vote 181) N
      Provide tax refunds as economic stimulus (House vote 42) N
      Clear $473.5 billion omnibus spending bill, including $70 billion for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan (House vote 1186) Y
      Exempt additional taxpayers from the alternative minimum tax in 2007 (House vote 1183) Y
      Approve energy policy overhaul with new fuel economy standards and emphasis on conservation (House vote 1177) N
      Override Bush veto of $150.7 billion labor, health and education spending bill (House vote 1122) N
      Tighten oversight of mortgage lending industry (House vote 1118) N
      Implement Peru free-trade agreement with labor and environmental protection standards (House vote 1060) Y
      Prohibit job discrimination based on sexual orientation (House vote 1057) N
      Override Bush veto of $23.2 billion water projects authorization bill (House vote 1040) N
      Override Bush veto of bill to expand State Children’s Health Insurance Program (House vote 982) N
      Expand warrantless wiretapping program for six months (House vote 836) Y

  3. jpmsouth says:

    Good question ricstewart. Just how many balanced budgets have the republican and democratic House members voted for in the last 16 years? I’m sure the ‘others’ in the House now thinking about a run have been stalwarts opposing unbalanced budgets. Too bad we can’t ask the same question of the Senate.

  4. Noway says:

    Far be it from me to be give counsel to the Dems and I can’t believe I’m saying this but the GA Dem Party needs to be following this guy with a camera and a microphone now…every campaign, every everything. This guy is too much of a panderer to not say something equally as stupid as his “pits of hell comment.” Granted that takes resources and he might not even be the Repub nominee (I pray we have someone better than this clod…), but a minimum wage intern and gas money might be a good investment for them right now.

  5. Harry says:

    I agree with essentially every on of Broun’s votes. Look past the negative media hype and vote for this man based on his record.

  6. I personally have the utmost respect for Dr. Broun, as he has been one of the most honest and consistent members of Congress I have ever met. He has always explained to me fully why he was or was not voting for something. People may disagree with what he believes, but he does believe what he says and he acts upon what he strongly feels is right based on the Constitution, fiscal responsibility, and, yes, his faith. It is because of his consistency that I do not see him as pandering to the right.

    I understand what Charlie is trying to say, but I can truly say that Dr. Broun is making a difference in Washington, albeit slower than some people would like. Rand Paul is cheered by many Republicans for taking a principled stand, but Dr. Broun is downgraded because of his “pits of hell” statement.

    • WeymanCWannamakerJr says:

      I’m sorry but for me the “pits of hell” statements label him as either a fool or a panderer. Given his station I will assume the latter.

      • James says:

        “Dr.” Broun will be remembered for one thing and one thing only – “pits of hell.” For that he is both a fool and a panderer.

        • Harry says:

          Why will you remember Dr. Broun for one thing and one thing only, a personal opinion which he had the temerity to express openly, while ignoring his stellar voting record? Is it perhaps possible the real problem is you don’t see eye to eye with him on ideology, rather than theology?

          • I’ll have to wait until I see who else is in the race, but looking through the list of votes SOWEGA posted, I agree with a number of them. Certainly not the warrantless wiretaps though. I can get over the pits of hell comment but would prefer that Broun be moved from the science and technology committee to perhaps something a bit more appropriate for him.

            • Harry says:

              In a free society, there is or should be a presumption of privacy concerning phone conversations and e-mail. It seems Broun voted to extend warrantless wiretapping. Warrants can be easily obtained with reasonable cause, so yes, I don’t agree with that one. Maybe we’re missing something.

          • Noway says:

            I also agree with most of that voting record but an educated man who says the things he has said will literally say anything to get elected. That’s dishonest and the worst example of a typical pandering overly ambitious man. It shows us a glimpse of his personality that is troubling. He’s now a laughing stock and in politics that is the kiss of death. The “Earth” quote and the “pits” quote should/will be played on an endless loop by his Repub competitors and for sure by the Dem nominee. I hope his political run is toast.

  7. bowersville says:

    Rep. Paul Broun — the only announced candidate to replace retiring Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss — is yanking much of the congressional delegation to the right and throwing their votes and the support of leadership into a daily flux.

    Read more:

    That would be Gingrey, Kingston and Price. This is Georgia. It’s a Republican primary. Paul Broun will campaign to the right of his opponents. That strategy works for him. It’s Broun’s name visible in the news. Drawing criticism from MSNBC helps Broun. Politico and others keep writing “Broun.”

  8. xdog says:

    I’ll give Broun his religious views, but if he’s honest and honorable he would excuse himself from serving on the House Committee on Science and Technology as being ill-equipped. If he has any hope of serving in the Senate he should also stop comparing Obama to Hitler and Stalin.

  9. TheEiger says:

    This from a National Review article on Broun.

    “The Constitution I uphold and defend is the one I carry in my pocket all the time, the U.S. Constitution. I don’t know what Constitution that other members of Congress uphold, but it’s not this one. I think the only Constitution that Barack Obama upholds is the Soviet constitution, not this one.”

    “All that stuff I was taught about evolution, embryology, the Big Bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of Hell. And it’s lies to try to keep me and all the folks who were taught that from understanding that they need a savior.”

    “I don’t believe that the Earth’s but about 9,000 years old. I believe it was created in six days as we know them. That’s what the Bible says.”

    “I was the first member of Congress to call [President Obama] a socialist who embraces Marxist-Leninist policies like government control of health care and redistribution of wealth.”

    “Truth be told, except for foreign policy, Ron Paul’s voting record and mine are virtually identical and I wear it as a badge of honor.”

    I don’t care who you are or how you vote, saying that you don’t believe in embryology and the Earth is only 9,000 years old is pretty wacky.

  10. D_in_ATL says:

    Whenever I consider the fact that a person like Broun is actually an elected representative I always veer between two thoughts. The first being ‘How on earth is it possible he’s in such a position?’ and the second is the realization that our system of govt must be working and he truly represents his constituency (old, white, ignorant, angry and scared).

    • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

      “…he truly represents his constituency (old, white, ignorant, angry and scared).”

      No hint of contempt for those whom you disagree with anywhere in this comment.

        • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

          You’re not a hypocrite, I’ll give you that…You always seem to be contemptuous of those whom you disagree with on your political right.

  11. Ghost of William F Buckley says:

    I predict a PP Cavalcade of ‘All Things Karen’ = Good; everyone else = BAD, for the next two years.

      • Ghost of William F Buckley says:

        Charlie calls Dr. Broun is a headline hog. I concur fully, Dr. Broun distinguished himself with his comments on Bloomberg, today, in spite of the interviewers snark.

        I agree with the poster who said Dr. Broun should not be on the Science and Technology Committee, since his views on theology run contrary to both. Karen is argumentative, unimpressive, and unready for prime time, as her Planned Parenthood spectacular debacle clearly shows.

        Neither would get my vote, as neither would be taken seriously in WDC.

        • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

          “Neither would get my vote, as neither would be taken seriously in WDC.”

          …Is anyone in Washington DC is really taken seriously (in a good way) these days?

          • Ghost of William F Buckley says:

            Le Dig, I’m guessing you are 25-36 years old, male, work in IT, and never actually been under the Gold Dome? Am I close?

            • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

              Ghost, I’m guessing that you are a self-proclaimed “political-insider” who has spent entirely way too many of their days under the Gold Dome and thinks that his/her opinion is way more important than the “common voter”…Am I close?

  12. So, the verdict is that Christians shouldn’t chair the Science and Technology Committee and if you say what you believe you are pandering. There has been an outcry for moral and principled leaders, but when we get them, they get torn apart for being too moral and too principled. Saxby is considered a RINO, Paul Broun too extreme, Jack Kingston not conservative enough, etc., etc. What exactly is an ideal candidate?

    • seenbetrdayz says:


      We have to wait for the media to tell us who can win.

      Then we go with the other person.

      Au Contraire. Not falling for it again, liberal media!

    • caroline says:

      There have been many Christians on the Science and Technology Committee that managed just fine. It’s not that he a Christian that’s a problem. It’s that he’s a Christian that thinks the bible is a science document.

  13. Noway says:

    Lawton, there is no way Broun believes those ridiculous statements. No educated man can. That’s the whole point as to why people are calling him out.

    • xdog says:

      A lot of people claim Obama is Kenyan, or a commie, or just like Hitler, or the love child of Malcolm X. Not all of those people are uneducated.

    • He believes what he says and says what he believes. He is an extremely educated man as well. He knows the Constitution and the Bible backwards and forwards. You can disagree with what he says or believes in, but he does not need to be labelled as pandering when it is coming from his heart.

      • James says:

        I agree. It needs to be labeled as uneducated, unrealistic, idiotic, and crazy.

        Pits of hell. Giggle.

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