Friday, February 27, 2009

Republican Lose Again, This Time on Earmarks.

My crazy conservative friend called me today and was bent out of shape over the Democratic budget earmarks being reported in the press. When you consider the actual numbers, not reported in the supposed “liberal media,” the picture dramatically changes. Media Matters explains:
The AP reported that "Republicans assailed" the omnibus bill recently passed by the House as "too costly" and quoted Republicans criticizing the bill as, in the reporter's words, "bristl[ing] with earmarks." At no point did the reporter give any indication that many of the earmarks were included at the request of Republicans. While quoting Republicans attacking the bill for earmarks, AP did not note a handout distributed on February 24 by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) titled "You can't spell 'earmark' without an 'R,' " asserting that "40% of the earmarks in the omnibus appropriations bill are Republican earmarks." The handout also stated that "[t]he earmarks in the omnibus appropriations bill total less than 1% of the budget.”

AP also wrote that “The result was that lawmakers claimed billions in federal funds for pet projects -- a total of 8,570 earmarks at a cost of $7.7 billion, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense (TCS). However AP did not note that TCS highlighted both Republican and Democratic earmarks.

In a February 24 McClatchy
article headlined "GOP hates earmarks -- except the ones its members sponsor," David Lightman reported: "Republicans are expected to deliver a daylong rant Wednesday against Democratic spending legislation, yet the bill is loaded with thousands of pet projects that Republican lawmakers inserted." Lightman also reported: "House Democrats estimate that Republicans inserted 40 percent of the earmarks in the bill. An independent budget watchdog group, Taxpayers for Common Sense, said the 60-40 Democratic-Republican ratio followed historical patterns."

From CNN:

JACK CAFFERTY: Wolf, the question this hour is, are earmarks a necessary evil or are they just plain evil?S. in Michigan: "It depends on what ends up being called an earmark and who labels it as such. For the state or city getting the money, it is progress money or an investment. For others, it becomes pork, or an earmark, et cetera. For example, for Bobby Jindal, the governor of Louisiana, monitoring volcanoes is an earmark, but, for Alaskans, monitoring hurricanes may be earmarks. So, should we stop doing both?"

Fox News:
After President Obama's speech on the economy last night, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal criticized government spending in the stimulus bill, citing examples including "$140 million for something called 'volcano monitoring.'"When he heard Jindal's remarks, John Eichelberger, program coordinator for the USGS's Volcano Hazards Program said he "was frankly astonished" that the governor would use this particular example, given his own state's recent brush with a catastrophic natural disaster.

According to
John McCain, who like me has apparently recently discovered Twitter, is Twittering like a madman with what he apparently thinks people will regard as "wasteful" items in the budget, such as:

$650,000 for beaver management in North Carolina and Mississippi. How do you manage a beaver? Apparently, Senator Straight Talk doesn't realize that the buck-toothed little bastards did a million bucks worth of damage to NC farms, timberland, and roads last year. Guess when you have eight houses, the problems of small farmers out in the sticks don't mean that much to you.

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