In 2008, citizens yearned for government to change its corrupt ways. Obama exploited that sentiment and rode it to the presidency. In the midterm elections, voters rejected Obama’s policies and showed that they yearn for change more than ever. Like Obama two years ago, senate Republicans this year promised they would fight for change. But senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell has now signaled that they don’t mean it any more than Obama did. McConnell has said several times recently that he doesn’t really think earmarks are bad. (See the Nov. 6 Redstate for good reporting and discussion of how some Republicans are drooling at the thought of earmarking).
On “Face the Nation” on Nov. 7, McConnell stated that ending earmarks is more complicated than it appears. Well, yes, but so are most significant political actions. They all have upsides and downsides (see Wikipedia for a discussion of earmark pros and cons ). The salient fact about earmarks is that they’re corrupting. They’re used to distribute pork, enact measures underhandedly and under the radar, buy votes, and protect incumbents—exactly what the public hates. Above all, they’ve become a symbol of what’s wrong with Washington. The public wants them gone—period. The Washington Examiner told senators to listen up in a Nov. 8 editorial:
As Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., has often said, earmarks are the ‘gateway drug to federal spending addiction.’ Legislators are induced to support spending bills they would otherwise oppose only because the measures contain their earmarks. Old Bull senators like McConnell may be right on senatorial privilege and congressional precedent, but, if he means what he said about listening to the people, he will join Coburn and other congressional conservatives who understand that earmarks must end if federal spending and debt are ever to be reduced.
A principal function of the Tea Party—I believe the main function—is to hold political feet of every stripe to the fire. I’ll be first on the site of any rally to ban earmarks. I affiliated with the Tea Party in 2008 because I was mad as hell and wasn’t going to take it anymore and, dammit, I’m still mad.