The roll: 402-1. The dissident in question is Nobel winner Liu Xiaobo, whose existence so upsets the totalitarians in Beijing that on top of locking him away and making his wife disappear, they’ve organized a boycott of the Nobel ceremony and introduced their very own “Confucius Prize” as an alternative. (Pelosi, to her great credit, is attending the Nobel ceremony to show her support for Liu.) Shouldn’t a proud libertarian want to recognize a guy doing his level best to strike a blow for freedom against a giant, vicious state machine? No, ostensibly for two reasons: The House resolution is purely hortatory and therefore a meaningless waste of taxpayer time and money, and of course we shouldn’t be so arrogant as to meddle in other nations’ internal affairs. Even if that meddling consists of saying, “Hey, please don’t kill that guy for writing some stuff about democracy.” But give Paul this — at least he’s consistent.

Except, actually, he’s not. If he’s opposed on principle to meaningless House resolutions, how come he voted yes on this one during the summer to honor golfer Chi Chi Rodriguez for his contributions to Latino youth programs? And if he’s against telling foreign nations how to conduct their business — even when it comes to standing up for core libertarian values — why’d he vote for this one a few years ago urging Romania to relax its rules on intercountry adoptions? That’s proof enough that he’s not above rhetorically pressuring other countries, but if you need more, you can always revisit his floor speeches and YouTube videos criticizing Israel.

Any Paulnuts want to help me square the circle on this? I notice that he was also the lone no vote two years ago on a resolution expressing condolences to the people of Burma after they were hit by a devastating cyclone, which is hard to jibe with the fact that (a) he voted yes on resolutions congratulating various football teams on big wins and (b) saying “sorry all those people died from bad weather” doesn’t constitute “meddling” in anyone’s affairs. Is this a simple matter of Paul not wanting to antagonize our Chinese trading partner, even if it means politely betraying the values for which he stands? Clue me in.

Tags: China Israel