What does David Young stand for? Who the hell knows.
Two days after switching his vote at the last minute on a LGBT provision in the U.S. House after it looked like it might actually pass, Congressman Young took the stage at the Iowa Republican state convention. What followed could generously be described as the most boring, pointless, vapid political speech ever given.
The first-term Congressman has kept a relatively low profile since his unique win in 2014. It’s been difficult to determine what issues and causes he really feels passionate about, or how he even stands on most key topics. He gave no further hints on Saturday.
Let’s deconstruct the majority of his speech to examine how truly pointless it was and – more importantly – how it demonstrates Congressman Young’s total contempt for voters’ intelligence.
Young began lamenting about Congress’ failure once again to pass a budget, a very legitimate concern. His solution, however, was lacking.
“When I was waiting tables, I never got tipped until after the meal was served. When I was a paper boy, I didn’t paid until folks received their morning newspaper. And let me tell you, Congress hasn’t passed a budget, but Congress is still getting paid. That doesn’t seem right to me and I know it doesn’t’ seem right to you.”
The crowd claps.
“I believe in No Budget, No Pay. I don’t just believe in it, but I’m a co-sponsor of a bill that says if Congress doesn’t meet its legal requirement of getting a budget bill by April 15th, then they don’t have their pay. And it should be withheld until they get the budget done.”
Now the crowd cheers, but it’s for a thoroughly hollow proposal. First of all, a majority of members of Congress have a net worth of over $1 million. Not to mention the money they stand to earn if they become lobbyists afterward. A lack of pay isn’t going to change anything, even if you were able to pass such a thing, which you never would. For the exact same reasons as you won’t get term limits ever passed.
So he’s championing a solution that will never come to be, that wouldn’t address the problem, and that doesn’t even get to the root of the issue in the first place. Intractable policy differences from the most conservative members of the GOP caucus who refuse to negotiate on anything is the real culprit.
“And I’m not just a co-sponsor, either. I’m acting in the spirit of No Budget, No Pay. I’ve had my paycheck withheld and I’ll continue to have my paycheck withheld until we pass a budget. I’m the only member of Congress doing this. As an Iowan, we understand that if you don’t do your job, you shouldn’t be paid.”
Young actually raised his voice at the end of this line, something he rarely does. This is nothing but a cheap applause line, and it’s not like it’s going to force Young himself to work any harder. Actually, why is he unilaterally doing this anyway? Is he frustrated with his own personal lack of success? And doesn’t this just demonstrate that Young has been paid so much from his years in D.C. prior to being elected, since he apparently doesn’t need the money?
“Now, this hasn’t made me the most popular person in Congress with my colleagues. But that’s ok. I don’t work for them, I work for you.”
I 100% guarantee you no one else in Congress gives a damn about Young’s gimmick. I also highly doubt he goes around the halls of the Capitol telling his colleagues that their paychecks should be withheld until they get their act together. If anything his leadership probably encouraged him to do this so he could have a talking point.
“I pledged when I was elected to Congress that I would come home on the weekends and be here in the 3rd District during breaks. And I’ve kept that promise. I’ve visited every county every month. That’s 192 county visits at least a year, but don’t tell Senator Grassley that. I’ve learned that work ethic from him that it’s just the right thing to do.”
Hard work. It’s just the right thing to do. What a brave, noble stance.
“And everywhere I go, from Hamburg to Mitchellville, from Bayer to Mt Ayr, I hear the same thing. I hear, I love my country, but I am frustrated. Frustrated that we Iowans here at home play by one set of rules, while people in DC tend to play by another set of rules. Or sometimes they play by no rules at all. It’s not right.”
Young gives no actual examples of this, but it sounds ominous enough, so I suppose it works.
“That’s why the first piece of legislation I introduced was a simple one, very simple: It’s straight-forward and common sense resolution: It stated that members of Congress, the Judiciary, the executive branch, should abide by and not be exempt from the rule and regulations, orders and laws that you pass upon the American people.”
Is this actually a thing? Can members of Congress walk up and shoot someone in the street and then not get arrested for it? Are there laws saying Senators don’t have to pay taxes and can run dangerous workplaces? No, there aren’t. There’s ways they get around a lot of rules, but a bill like this wouldn’t address that problem.
I think what he’s getting at is conservatives’ hatred of Obamacare, and how they think the people who voted for it should also be insured by that healthcare themselves (since it’s evil, you know). This too is just dumb, simplistic rhetoric not grounded in actual fact. It’s just feelings of anger transferred into some junk piece of “legislation” that is nothing more than a political trick. It’s dumb.
“That resolution scares to death the people in Washington, but it’s the right thing to do.”
No it doesn’t. Because they all know it’s empty rhetoric.
“Taxes and regulations are choking this economy and leaving Iowans behind. ISIS is on the march, and rouge nations and leaders do not fear the United States anymore. Our God-given Constitutional rights and liberties are under attack by an executive branch that knows no bounds.”
Finally, he gets to some semblance of an actual policy stance – too much taxes and regulations. American foreign policy not tough enough. Too much presidential power. But there’s no discussion of what these things actually are, so it’s impossible to tell how he would vote on anything.
“And Iowa and our nation deserves better. I’m committed to this endeavor. I know you are too – to better this great Republic. We’re really here today because we love America. We love freedom. We want freedom, we need freedom, freedom is our right, freedom is our gift from God, and it must be protected.”
Freedom! Can’t go wrong there, I guess.
“I leave you with the words of Thomas Payne, ‘Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must undergo the fatigue of supporting it.'”
“I am all-in for freedom. Are you? God bless you and thank you!”
He’s all-in for freedom. Again, what a brave, noble man. How was Iowa ever blessed with a Congressman who is pro-freedom, instead of that raft of legislators who were openly and publicly anti-freedom?
David Young must think his constituents are complete idiots. There was not one iota worth of substance or policy in his entire speech. It’s all just one-liners about things that make people feel good, but nothing that would ever make a damn bit of difference in any Iowan’s life.
The sad thing is that Young knows this all too well. He’s worked in Washington D.C. for three decades, recently as Chuck Grassley’s chief-of-staff. He knows the ins and outs of policy minutia probably better than anyone from the Iowa delegation, save for Grassley himself. And instead of using that wealth of knowledge to put out forward-thinking solutions to real, actual problems, Young just regurgitates the easiest, cheapest applause lines about absolutely nothing.
I guess that’s one other thing Young has learned from being in D.C. all these years.
by Pat Rynard