Earkmark spending has become a huge national issue. Dems and Republicans are catching heat for ridiculous amounts of earmark spending for their home districts. Dems promised reform as part or their 2006 platform and as anyone with half a brain could have told you — earmark spending has only increased under the folks who think it is their responsibilty to spend your money for you.
So, with all the outrage, all the media coverage, all the bridges to nowhere — who gets a free pass?
Why, who else? The biggest earkmark spender of them all.
Oct. 8 (Bloomberg) — Democrats came into power this year promising meaningful earmark reform to a U.S. electorate that was rightly disgusted with Congress’s free-spending habits. Today, earmarks continue to be out of control, and the predictable result is that the Democratic Congress is now even less popular in national polls than the Republican one before it.
There is an underappreciated angle to the story of how lawmakers steer federal funds toward their pet projects that may yet swing the next presidential election. Democrats have been so busy preparing the coronation of Hillary Clinton that they have failed to train a critical eye on her record.
The statistics speak for themselves. Ever since she arrived in Washington, Hillary has worked tirelessly to bring the pork home to her adopted state, New York. It used to be that such efforts were cloaked in secrecy. No longer.
Oddly, this transparency has had a big effect on the Republican presidential candidates, but not on the Democrats.
Nothing to Hide
Among the presidential candidates, many Republicans currently holding office have responded to media requests to make public all their earmarks, including Representatives Ron Paul, Duncan Hunter and Tom Tancredo. (Senator John McCain notably claims to not submit any such requests). They presumably have done so because they have nothing to hide.
On the Democratic side, however, the major candidates have been much less forthright.
The Clinton campaign refused to respond at all to requests that she identify her earmarks.
A little digging shows why they are so evasive. In fiscal year 2006, Chris Dodd and fellow Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman were jointly responsible for more than $100 million worth of earmarks for their home state, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Yet Clinton, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense, placed $2.2 billion worth of earmarks in spending bills from 2002-2006. One would have to concede that she is good at it. In the fiscal 2008 defense-spending bill alone, Clinton successfully attached 26 earmarks worth $148 million, which was the most of any Democrat except Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, who is now chairman of the Armed Services Committee.
Make no mistake, voters are disgusted with our government. Clinton’s biggest political liability has always been that she, the ultimate insider, may not be able to run as a credible agent of change. The earmark numbers are important, because an able opponent can accurately portray her pork barrel record as shameful. How can someone who is one of the biggest contributors to the problem be part of the cure?
If Democrats aren’t careful, voters will ask themselves that question in the general election. It seems unlikely that the Republican nominee will have a pork-stained past. If so, Democrats may regret giving Clinton a free pass on the earmark issue during the primaries.
Paying attention, Republicans?
It makes no sense to me that the Dems are so in love with someone who represents everything that is so wrong with government — so well. But, so be it.
The other Dem candidates will not attack Hillary on this issue because they don’t have a leg to stand on. The Republicans, however, can win back the part of the voter base that was so disgusted with the Republicans in congress spending like newborn liberals that they voted them out.
All Republicans have to do is tell the truth. The truth that Hillary is the Queen of Pork.
She will never answer questions about it until it becomes too big of an issue to go away on it’s own. The media certainly won’t push her on it.
Once the American public opens it’s eyes to the amount of pork spending being done by the worst offenders — Hillary, Levin, Pelosi, Reid and Co., we may actually do pretty well in next year’s election.
So, how about it Republicans? Grab ahold of this issue and beat them over the head with it.
The American voter will reward you — until you try to betray us again.