There are so many excellent ways that the Associated Press could investigate Ron Paul, given his long congressional record and status as a competitive major party presidential candidate with views radically outside the mainstream, something you don't see too often. He's a character, a real life political character. But what the AP has chosen to go with today is a report about how he frequently flies first-class between Washington and his Texas district, making him the worst sort of hypocrite who has no values and loves Big Government deficits, secretly.

The AP's extensive work poring through congressional travel documents has paid off with this hot hot scoop: Since May 2009, Paul has "charged taxpayers nearly $52,000 on the more expensive tickets, or $27,621 more than the average Continental airfare for the flights between Washington and Houston, according to the AP's review of his congressional expenses and average airfares compiled by the Department of Transportation." Dear sweet Jesus God, this man must have no integrity, being an elderly person who flies constantly and is allowed to purchase first-class tickets on his budget and therefore does. It's okay, quiver with rage all you want, reader.

But oh, there's more? The AP has yet to make its sweeping charges of grand hypocrisy and moral failure:

But Paul's congressional travel conflicts with claims in campaign appearances that he's the most frugal and serious deficit hawk in the race.

"The talk you hear in Washington is pure talk, because there is nobody suggesting, the other candidates are not talking about real cuts," Paul said in a speech to supporters last week after his second-place finish in New Hampshire.

It does not conflict with Ron Paul's claims about being the most "frugal and serious deficit hawk in the race." Ron Paul's airfare tacked on an extra rounding error of a rounding error of a rounding error of a rounding error to federal budget deficits. Maybe you think less of him as a person for taking all these nice flights during difficult economic times. That's fine. But he's still the most "frugal and serious deficit hawk in the race" (that is not meant as a compliment) because he never votes for any budget or major spending bill and seriously thinks that most federal spending measures are unconstitutional. Why not investigate deeper into that radical philosophy instead of looking at some plane tickets and calling him a fraud? Not zippy enough?

[Image via AP]