Porkutopia: All three presidential candidates to sponsor moratorium on pork

posted at 8:56 pm on March 10, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

How can one tell an issue has truly arrived? Politicians rush to prove themselves authentic on it. That appears to have happened with the pork moratorium proposed by Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC), as all three Senators still running for President have now agreed to co-sponsor his resolution:

Obama joined with other lawmakers last year to obtain almost $100 million worth of earmarks for Illinois. Clinton worked with others to win $342 million in pet projects for New York and Pelosi obtained $94 million for California.

“We can no longer accept a process that doles out earmarks based on a member of Congress’ seniority, rather than the merit of the project,” Obama said in a statement. “We can no longer accept an earmarks process that has become so complicated to navigate that a municipality or non-profit group has to hire high-priced D.C. lobbyists to do it.”

McCain, the Republican presidential nominee-in-waiting, has fought — and lost — many battles over earmarks before, but his new status has longtime rivals in his own party rethinking their positions.

The moves by Clinton and Obama have also put Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and other Democrats in a quandary. Reid issued a statement early Monday reiterating his support for Congress’ right to direct money back home for roads and other projects.

McCain is among only six members of the Senate who don’t ask for pet projects. Obama does, though his requests are generally modest when compared to more senior senators like Illinois colleague Dick Durbin, a fellow Democrat.

What does this tell us? It says that the outcry over the incumbency protection of pork has finally made it a political liability. John McCain’s credibility on the issue creates a problem for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Both of the Democrats have used earmarks to build their political strength. Both of them need to be seen as reformers, Obama because he’s running explicitly as a reformer and Clinton to keep up with Obama.

But will this mean success? I suspect not. John McCain has fought pork for his entire career, and he still only has a handful of Republicans with him on the policy. Hillary and Obama have less standing and even fewer colleagues looking to end pork-barrel politics. Their co-sponsorship allows them to look good on pork without any real risk, as a coalition of Democrats and Republicans will almost certainly vote to defeat DeMint’s amendment.

Still, even if this happens, their sudden need to look kosher on pork shows that the issue has gained significant traction. At first the Beltway laughed at Porkbusters, then ignored them, and then opposed them. Eventually, they will have to come to a reckoning on the corrupting and wasteful influence of pork. Hopefully, the DeMint amendment will provide that opportunity, but it now looks inevitable in one form or another.


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Either I’m at a Pink Floyd concert or a Giant Pig just flew past my window.

Kini on March 10, 2008 at 9:01 PM

McCain took zero in pork last year, that is impressive given his power in Washington.

jp on March 10, 2008 at 9:02 PM

“Read my lips, no new taxes!”

Politicians promising things during an election season? Since when have they started doing that?

Weebork on March 10, 2008 at 9:02 PM

OINK OINK OINK

All three presidential candidates to sponsor moratorium on pork

OINK OINK OINK

The joke of the new Century.

Funnier than the porky face of Rosie O’Donnell.

Indy Conservative on March 10, 2008 at 9:06 PM

Moratorium …. as in temporary suspension?

Uhh … OK …. YAWN.

Chimp 6 on March 10, 2008 at 9:07 PM

That appears to have happened with the pork moratorium proposed by Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC), as all three Senators still running for President have now agreed to co-sponsor his resolution:

that was your first mistake

see the bold part?

windansea on March 10, 2008 at 9:08 PM

Indy Conservative on March 10, 2008 at 9:06 PM

are you still here?

windansea on March 10, 2008 at 9:10 PM

It just won’t play in the general. McCain has been pushing for reform for decades vs. The Woodstock Museum and Hey my wife’s employer really needed that earmark

Theworldisnotenough on March 10, 2008 at 9:12 PM

Well, not much has changed in DC for over 200 years. I suppose we can hope.

BryanS on March 10, 2008 at 9:19 PM

Indy Conservative on March 10, 2008 at 9:06 PM

are you still here?

windansea on March 10, 2008 at 9:10 PM

What do you want? Yes I’m here, drinking Camel Urine. Leave me alone, porky.

Indy Conservative on March 10, 2008 at 9:23 PM

Well, I’m not here anymore.

Gute Nacht y’all.

Indy Conservative on March 10, 2008 at 9:31 PM

Wouldn’t it just have been easier if we had just nominated DeMint?

Verbal Abuse on March 10, 2008 at 9:41 PM


“Abramoff used to refer to the congressional appropriations committees, which write annual spending bills, as “the favor factory.”

Why do I have the feeling we have been down this road before?

Seven Percent Solution on March 10, 2008 at 9:57 PM

Well now isn’t it just precious how all of our “Leaders” suddenly found God and decided that raiding the national Treasury to buy votes back home was just such an awful thing? Somehow I just can’t bring myself to believe that the spirit is going to survive the moment for very long.
The reason for my cynical lack of faith in this newfound virtue is simple: our “Leaders” aren’t the problem, we are! We are the boneheads who keep electing and re-electing these petty thieves for dragging the booty back to us and spending it in our towns and cities and counties. We are the ones who are so addicted to a steady supply of OPM (Other Peoples’ Money, for those who’ve been living under a board in the back yard for the last 50 years) that we can’t even build a bike path without a federal grant. And then, after we’ve spent the dough and built the bridge to nowhere, we have the gall to complain about “Runaway Federal Spending” as if it was something that someone else was doing.
Please boys and girls, if you want to look into the face of the beast LOOK IN THE MIRROR! When these toads start losing elections BECAUSE they brought home the bacon, then the bacon will stop coming home and runaway federal spending won’t be a problem any more.

Lew on March 10, 2008 at 10:04 PM

Careful, all this talk of “pork” might unleash a jihad on us.

Montana on March 10, 2008 at 10:06 PM

Reminds me of the Simpson episode:

Smithers:You going to write that chegue for the orphanage!

Burns:Well when pigs fly!

Smithers:There’s a pig flying by the window now,Mr Burns
looks!

Smithers:You going to right that chegue!

Burns: No, No I don’t think so!

canopfor on March 10, 2008 at 10:06 PM

What? No bacon? I like bacon!

Great, another bill to stuff pork into. Hope this works out better then campaign finance reform.

Limerick on March 10, 2008 at 10:15 PM

I’ll believe it when I see it……until then foggettabouddit.

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on March 10, 2008 at 10:24 PM

Theworldisnotenough on March 10, 2008 at 9:12 PM

Amen, the ad writes itself.

“John McCain, against pork before it was cool.

Squid Shark on March 10, 2008 at 10:27 PM

Wouldn’t it just have been easier if we had just nominated DeMint?

Verbal Abuse on March 10, 2008 at 9:41 PM

Not likely, I know he isn’t terribly popular in Florida. No idea why…

Squid Shark on March 10, 2008 at 10:29 PM

Ok, go to Citizens Against Government Waste and look at the Senatorial Scorecard.

McCain is fifth best, Obama is 58th, and Clinton is 78th in the 2006 ranking.

Now, who’s being hypocritical?

desertdweller on March 10, 2008 at 11:09 PM

Ok, looks like one of those cases of: You can tell a politician is lying because his lips are moving. Like they are really going to wrid themselves of earmarks.

boomer on March 10, 2008 at 11:15 PM

Hey Captain: speaking of John McCain and pork, whatever happened to your Carly Fiorina picked as co-chair of John McCain’s campaign post?

It’s vanished as far as I can tell. Did Maverick come to his senses and decide it wasn’t a good idea to hire someone who, if she were still HP’s CEO today, they’d be selling off pieces of the biz…?

CliffHanger on March 10, 2008 at 11:41 PM

“We can no longer accept a process that doles out earmarks based on a member of Congress’ seniority, rather than the merit of the project,” Obama said in a statement.
It seems to me that the junior senator is not against pork as such. It is just that as a junior senator he did not have enough say in where the prok koes ?

SIJ6141 on March 10, 2008 at 11:47 PM

Prok ? Pork.

SIJ6141 on March 10, 2008 at 11:48 PM

their sudden need to look kosher on pork

Heh.

major john on March 11, 2008 at 12:07 AM

Jezz, I have to many comments to make on pork. I just do not feel like typing that much this late. Besides it looks like you all get the drift anyway.

good night

allrsn on March 11, 2008 at 1:55 AM

How many minutes will the moratorium last?

Whats wrong with permenant?

Lonetown on March 11, 2008 at 5:39 AM

Doesn’t the next President massively benefit from this moratorium? From not having to veto so many spending bills to being courted by Congress on original budget submissions, Presidential candidates supporting it sounds like a complete no-brainer to me.

Call me cynical (you’ll be neither the first nor the last) but I can’t bring myself to get too excited about this.

James on March 11, 2008 at 7:42 AM

oh … I thought this had something to do with sharia law…..tic hehe

jerrytbg on March 11, 2008 at 2:42 PM