Like the anti-big-government protesters over the weekend asking for directions to the Metro public transit system, Republican Rep. Dean Heller’s recent government mailing to his constituents had a bit of accidental irony to it.
Heller’s multi-part homage to small government was, of course, paid for with taxpayer dollars (and shipped via the U.S. Postal Service). [...]
Just how partisan can you be on Uncle Sam’s 44 cents? That has been a point of debate.
Heller included in the package home a bureaucratic flow chart — a popular prop used on the House floor by Republicans to mock the perceived complexity of the Democrats’ proposed health reform legislation.
The use of the chart in such mailings had been debated over the summer by the House Franking Commission, until a decision was reached by both Democrats and Republicans to allow it with a disclaimer that this was a Republican offering. [...]
The rules on franking privileges are as vast as they are gray. There is a full section devoted to prohibited “political and partisan references” in the mailings. It includes this rule of thumb: “Comments critical of policy or legislation should not be partisan, politicized or personalized.”
Yet Heller can send this clearly partisan political mailing on the government's 44 cents? It's just so... Republican! They don't like "big government", except when they're the ones benefitting from it.