Showdown: McConnell quietly campaigning against DeMint’s earmark ban

posted at 2:39 pm on November 9, 2010 by Allahpundit

I’m surprised. The usual argument against anti-earmark measures is that they’re essentially meaningless, which is true: Earmarks are a tiny percentage of the annual federal budget, a vanishingly small fiscal burden to bear compared to, say, nondiscretionary spending. But the porky stench of pols funneling taxpayer money to their home districts to buy influence is so foul that stuff like this necessarily makes for fantastic retail politics. It’s basically a symbolic battle against waste, in other words, with DeMint wanting to signal to Republican voters that the new GOP is serious about spending and McConnell fretting that if they don’t keep the pork coming, voters will hold it against them in 2012. Given that we’re exactly one week removed from the election and endless GOP stump speeches about “learning our lesson,” it’s worth letting DeMint win this one, no?

While McConnell is not demanding that rank-and-file Republican senators vote against the earmark ban, he’s laying out his concerns that eliminating earmarks would effectively cede Congress’ spending authority to the White House while not making a real dent in the $1 trillion-plus budget deficit. And McConnell is signaling his concern about the awkward politics of the situation: even if the DeMint moratorium passes, Republican senators could push for earmarks, given that the plan is nonbinding and non-enforceable

DeMint on Tuesday released a list of 10 other Republican senators who back his proposal, including Cornyn, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, John Ensign of Nevada, Mike Enzi of Wyoming — along with Sens.-elect Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Marco Rubio of Florida, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Mike Lee of Utah, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire…

McConnell’s heightened activity signals what Senate insiders say is real fear among senior members — that the DeMint plan actually stands a serious chance of passing. And that could have uncomfortable implications for a bloc of GOP senators — like McConnell, a member of the Appropriations Committee — who annually send hundreds of millions of dollars for projects in their home states…

Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe, one of the most conservative senators and an unabashed earmarker, plans a blitz on conservative talk radio to make the case that critics have demagogued the earmark issue in order to make their political points that they’re out to reform the excesses of Congress.

“They should quit worrying about this phony issue,” Inhofe told POLITICO, singling out DeMint, Coburn and Arizona Sen. John McCain criticism, saying the trio have taken aim at earmarks because it’s a “huge political plus” for them.

The Republican caucus will vote on it — by secret ballot — next Tuesday, and no one’s sure yet what to expect. Cornyn’s also pushing a balanced-budget amendment, which will almost surely pass if only so that they have some political cover with the base in case DeMint’s measure is defeated. Again, the fact that the resolution’s nonbinding and that tea partiers like DeMint will continue to speak out against earmarks anyway means that there’s virtually nothing to be gained by McConnell in opposing the measure. He’s still going to infuriate the base if he continues to earmark; he simply won’t be in technical violation of any “sense of the caucus” resolution if he does it. In fact, Rand Paul has already reminded his supporters that he’ll have no problem demanding Kentucky’s fair share of pork so long as it’s appropriated through normal procedural means, not snuck into a bill at the last moment. Which is yet another reminder that this is mainly a symbolic measure, so why not get behind it? Especially since opposing this measure is apt to intensify calls for McConnell to be replaced as minority leader — possibly with Jim DeMint. I don’t get it.

Update: Rand Paul’s team is now claiming that his comments on earmarks were misinterpreted. They seems perfectly clear to me, but judge for yourself.

Update: A much better argument against obsessing over earmarks, I think, is that it sucks congressional attention away from truly meaningful spending cuts to entitlements or defense. (Inhofe alludes to this in the quoted bit above.) But there’s basically only one guy in Congress at the moment willing to talk about that big-picture perspective, and it sure as heck ain’t Mitch McConnell.


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Here’s my concern.

If earmarks disappear, doesn’t that leave Obaam and the agencies under his control to decide how to spend money? Aren’t earmarks just directions on how to spend money that has already been appropriated?

If so, why don’t we want Congressional Republicans directing the funds rather than Obama? Someone is at some point, right?

I ask honestly because I don’t know.

amerpundit on November 9, 2010 at 2:42 PM

Mitch:
Nananana,….Can’t hear you.

Sir Napsalot on November 9, 2010 at 2:42 PM

McConnell is doesn’t get it, either.

changer1701 on November 9, 2010 at 2:42 PM

OT: O Please, O Please, O Please!

ConservativePartyNow on November 9, 2010 at 2:42 PM

Enjoy getting sent home after the primary Mitch.

SirGawain on November 9, 2010 at 2:42 PM

This will tell us if the election last week were successful.

brewcrew67 on November 9, 2010 at 2:43 PM

Tone deaf.

Bee on November 9, 2010 at 2:43 PM

One more Republican that just can’t stop playing the game. Time for this horse to go to the farm.

Hening on November 9, 2010 at 2:44 PM

Maybe it isn’t earmarks themselves that are the problems.

Perhaps it is the way the go about the earmarking that is.

blatantblue on November 9, 2010 at 2:44 PM

By the way, McConnell was re-elected in 2008. That means his next primary will be 2014. Four years from now. Four years ago Democrats had just taken control of Congress.

Four years is a lifetime in politics.

amerpundit on November 9, 2010 at 2:44 PM

Skank.

Feedie on November 9, 2010 at 2:44 PM

ConservativePartyNow on November 9, 2010 at 2:42 PM

Can you imagine the primary debate? Would be better than any on the comedy central.

Sir Napsalot on November 9, 2010 at 2:45 PM

Look at that picture. And they wonder why more women vote democrat?

He should not be the face of republicans in the senate.

lonestar1 on November 9, 2010 at 2:45 PM

If earmarks disappear, doesn’t that leave Obaam and the agencies under his control to decide how to spend money? Aren’t earmarks just directions on how to spend money that has already been appropriated?

Yup — unless you apply the Rand Paul formalistic definition, in which case money appropriated at the committee level isn’t an “earmark.”

Honestly, I wonder if focusing on earmarks is actually counterproductive at this point since it obscures the need for entitlement reform.

Allahpundit on November 9, 2010 at 2:46 PM

The Republican caucus will vote on it — by secret ballot

Just as I expected. The GOP has learned absolutely nothing. Nothing’s going to change. As much as people may hate it, and aside from the fact that he’s on the wrong side regarding his goals, Ted Rall is absolutely correct that nothing ever changes without violence. That’s simple reality and it always has been.

Gregor on November 9, 2010 at 2:47 PM

I ask honestly because I don’t know.

amerpundit on November 9, 2010 at 2:42 PM

The House budget committee should clearly and precisely state how the money can be spent, and what it cannot be spent on. Such as: “None of these funds directed toward the Environmental Protection Agency shall be used for regulating CO2 emissions.”

And it’s not even that earmarks are so egregious, but that they are snuck in after the votes have been cast. Time for a Tea Party primary challenge to McConnell?

rbj on November 9, 2010 at 2:49 PM

McConnell is a big government Republican. Better than the Dems. That’s it. Need a real conservative leading us, not this jackass.

therightwinger on November 9, 2010 at 2:49 PM

nooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

moonbatkiller on November 9, 2010 at 2:49 PM

But the porky stench of pols funneling taxpayer money to their home districts to buy influence is so foul that stuff like this necessarily makes for fantastic retail politics. It’s basically a symbolic battle against waste, in other words, with DeMint wanting to signal to Republican voters that the new GOP is serious about spending and McConnell fretting that if they don’t keep the pork coming, voters will hold it against them in 2012.

That’s exactly right. I think House republican leadership understands this. I am very disturbed that McConnell seems not to.

dczombie on November 9, 2010 at 2:49 PM

The Republicans may once again snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

thmsmgnm on November 9, 2010 at 2:50 PM

Tom Coburn, please run. The GOP caucus deserves a choice. If McConnell is so tone-deaf as to oppose an earmark moratorium in the wake of our biggest victory in generations, he needs to go back a few benches.

I don’t think DeMint could win – he’s irritated too many people. Coburn could. So could Jon Kyl. Either would be leagues beyond McConnell.

KingGold on November 9, 2010 at 2:52 PM

As I’ve been saying for a year – this guy does NOT need to be the face of GOP leadership. Unlike, Boehner, he seems unsure of himself, nervous, fragile, deer-in-the-headlights-ish, ad infinitum.

If they don’t listen this go round then we do need as revolution.

Soap Box > Ballot Box > Jury Box > Ammo Box

We’ve already passed step 2…

BirdEye on November 9, 2010 at 2:52 PM

I know, I know that earmarks likely only account for 20 billion/year out of the trillions the feds are putting us into debt, but the symbolism is not negotiable. Not only are the pols wasting our money, but it is a major conduit for buying votes.

McConnell going to have a tougher time having earmarks survive a House vote. Things will not be the same.

mwbri on November 9, 2010 at 2:52 PM

Someone better take Mitch out back and ‘splain things.
Then these idiots better get to work opening up our natural resources and strengthening the dollar.

Iblis on November 9, 2010 at 2:53 PM

Primary his ass.

He’s part of the problem at this point.

Hoodlumman on November 9, 2010 at 2:53 PM

Since the election I have seen too many signs that McConnell is more interested in searching for ways to continue big-government-”conservatism” and protect the power that congress has overreached their authority to grab instead of looking for ways to limit government.

He doesn’t get it. Any claim that he does is just lip service. He needs to be replaced as minority leader.

American Elephant on November 9, 2010 at 2:54 PM

Yes they are meaningless, and yes they are the main source of all bribes and corruption.

Who knew the Republicans are as much into bribes and corruption as the Democrats … LOL

tarpon on November 9, 2010 at 2:54 PM

The usual argument against anti-earmark measures is that they’re essentially meaningless

So ban ‘em and be done with it, problem solved, Miller time.

Knott Buyinit on November 9, 2010 at 2:55 PM

Hello, mcfly?

I think the good folks that mcconnell and the rest of the elite gop represent will forego any earmarks if the monies actually go to bringing down the debt or am I way off mark?

cmsinaz on November 9, 2010 at 2:55 PM

I don’t give a dam* if it is only a “small percentage” of the federal budget, it’s the BIGGEST message that’s already out there we’ve had in decades to tie in to the “stop federal spending” anger…Public sentiment is at an all time with ALL politicians wasteful spending. Pounce on it now, and beat that drum. True or not the message will be “we care about cutting wasteful spending”…for god’s sake don’t blow a chance like this, it’s been HANDED to you, use it!!!!!

Tim Zank on November 9, 2010 at 2:56 PM

Honestly, I wonder if focusing on earmarks is actually counterproductive at this point since it obscures the need for entitlement reform.

Allahpundit on November 9, 2010 at 2:46 PM

Exactly, but I’m afraid these guys aren’t really up for a real fight for something that would require a real plan and be met with off-the-charts scaremongering from the Dems. We’ll see if Rubio and Ryan can lead the GOP in the right direction.

peski on November 9, 2010 at 2:57 PM

I think taxpayer dollars from Texas shouldn’t be sent to taxpayers in KY for stuff Kentucky wants. The converse is that the same happens for Texas, but that’s just a excuse to justify the procedure.

If states/pols want or need the money for whatever, then do what needs to be done to keep the money in the state to begin with. The residents of a state can then decide for themselves where their own tax money goes and aren’t putting anyone from anywhere else on the hook for their ‘pork’.

If the Republicans can’t even pull this ‘low hanging fruit’ from the tree, how in the hell are they going to do anything meaningful?

catmman on November 9, 2010 at 2:57 PM

A much better argument against obsessing over earmarks, I think, …

The existence of earmarks enables the passage of marginally supported bills. Since most bills expand the scope and size of the federal government, earmarks are not a trival issue.

WashJeff on November 9, 2010 at 2:58 PM

amerpundit — The House appropriations bills allow for the major spending.

Earmarks are for bribes and kickbacks …

The basic problem is earmarks are put in at the last minute, without any committee scruntiny.

tarpon on November 9, 2010 at 2:59 PM

It’s only a big issue because the pork eater MAKE it a big issue. Pas the ban, enforce the ban, get over it and move on to real cuts.

michaelo on November 9, 2010 at 2:59 PM

If the Republicans can’t even pull this ‘low hanging fruit’ from the tree, how in the hell are they going to do anything meaningful?

catmman on November 9, 2010 at 2:57 PM

You have expressed one of my fears.

oldleprechaun on November 9, 2010 at 3:00 PM

“while not making a real dent in the $1 trillion-plus budget deficit”

This kind of attitude is getting old, “Oh, that expenditure won’t put a dent in the budget, Oh, this expenditure really won’t reduce the deficit, Oh, a billion dollars is small change in the mix.”

The reason we are in the position we are in now is due, in large part, to this kind of attitude. My reply is; you gotta start somewhere if you are serious about cutting – a million here, a million there – a billion here, a billion there and pretty soon you are talking real money. Knock off the bull and get down to the cutting.

Done That on November 9, 2010 at 3:02 PM

My God, the public goodwill garnered by banning earmarks would be huge. Not to mention it’s the right thing to do, it’s a start.

Tim Zank on November 9, 2010 at 3:02 PM

It’s not the monetary amount on the earmarks that is the problem, it is the earmark being used to bribe votes on high-spending bills that is the problem.

All the same, I can see the point Inhofe was making on Laura Ingraham this morning that the earmark ban as it is currently formulated will still allow 0bama to earmark at will. So how about finding a way to keep all the earmarks from happening?

Sekhmet on November 9, 2010 at 3:03 PM

Dammit, Mitch.

Focus on the real battles, you know, the ones with the freaking DEMOCRATS! Get off your high horse and let this go.

Man, I just finished defending this guy and now he pulls this crap.

fossten on November 9, 2010 at 3:03 PM

Earmarks may be a minuscule portion of the federal budget and banning them may be nothing more than a symbolic gesture, but symbolism can go a long way when it comes to the electorate. Obviously they’ll need to institute some major cuts in the budget, but this would be a good start toward reaffirming the conservative base’s faith in the new GOP House majority.

Doughboy on November 9, 2010 at 3:06 PM

Off to a bad start, Mitch.

petefrt on November 9, 2010 at 3:06 PM

Aight, I guess McConnell doesn’t get it either. Out he goes.

Midas on November 9, 2010 at 3:06 PM

WashJeff on November 9, 2010 at 2:58 PM

Correct, earmarks are used to exchange favors. Senator “X” tells Senator “Y” that if he supports passage of this bill out of committee, then he/she will return the favor for the other senators bill.

Exhibit “A” – Look at all the money Senator Byrd sent to WV. There is now a four lane interstate that goes nowhere and lead to no where.

ny59giants on November 9, 2010 at 3:08 PM

I’m surprised. The usual argument against anti-earmark measures is that they’re essentially meaningless, which is true: Earmarks are a tiny percentage of the annual federal budget, a vanishingly small fiscal burden to bear compared to, say, nondiscretionary spending.

Earmarks aren’t spending items, they are bribes. The issue is about ethics and transparency in government, not about dollar value.

The TARP bill passed because it had a few million dollars worth of earmarks tacked on. Can you honestly say that TARP was “a tiny percentage of the annual federal budget”?

joe_doufu on November 9, 2010 at 3:09 PM

WashJeff — Aye aye … the corn-husker kickback and the Louisiana purchase were earmarks I believe

tarpon on November 9, 2010 at 3:09 PM

Excuse my ignorance but don’t the Dems still control the Senate? What I don’t understand is this: If McConnell has no control of the appropriations why does he want the Dems to have control of earmarks?

P. Monk on November 9, 2010 at 3:10 PM

Rumbles of Frist the Second already. If Mitch doesn’t catch on quick that we are tired of the usual money games and back-slapping he needs to join Bob Bennett (ex-Sen. of Utah) at the dog track and fishin’ hole.

viking01 on November 9, 2010 at 3:10 PM

You know if the GOP is going to ask the average guy to cut back then it isn’t all that outrageous that they give up their bribe money.

How do they ask for program cuts with any credibility when they won’t accept any cutback themselves?

sharrukin on November 9, 2010 at 3:11 PM

Okay, I haven’t read the thread yet but Obamacare was passed by an earmark given to Blanche Lincoln and what amounted to one to Ben Nelson. The money may be considered trifling but what it buys isn’t.

Cindy Munford on November 9, 2010 at 3:12 PM

The appropriated money should be allotted to each state from a fund for state needs to help the state pay for police, fire, beach replenishment etc.not useless woodstock museum garbage that much of the earmarks are allotted too. The WH cannot appropriate the money they can only give a budget and the house appropriates it. This is why it is essential to repeal the 17th amendment.

xler8bmw on November 9, 2010 at 3:13 PM

Here is the list of Senators who are up for re-election in 2012.

http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm?Class=1

Pay particular attention to how these Senators vote on this and other issues.

Then make sure there are strong candidates ready to run against Senators who vote the wrong way.

We cleaned the House in 2010. We need to finish cleaning the Senate in 2012.

wren on November 9, 2010 at 3:14 PM

Denting a trillion dollar deficit begins one dollar at a time.

The ballot ought to be public. It’s only when the citizens vote that the ballot should be secret. Let the light shine where our representatives vote.

unclesmrgol on November 9, 2010 at 3:14 PM

If we can’t stop the little stuff, how in the hell are we going to stop the big stuff?

d1carter on November 9, 2010 at 3:15 PM

McConnell is a jackass – he is one of the old tired white men we have to get rid of.

jake-the-goose on November 9, 2010 at 3:15 PM

We havnt even seated the newly elected and the establishment republicans are already backpedaling and waffling on the very issues that brought about the GOP victory in the house. Keep talking McConnell and you will find out how fed up the electorate truly is with BOTH parties and their out of control spending and power expansion programs.

Koa on November 9, 2010 at 3:15 PM

Mitch is no dummy. He may need to trade a little pork to get Joe Manchin and Ben Nelson to vote with him on some important stuff. if this is thr price of repealing ObamaCare or stopping the ruinous CO2 regulations or overall spending reductions, I would say it’s well worth it.

rockmom on November 9, 2010 at 3:16 PM

Mitch is no dummy. He may need to trade a little pork to get Joe Manchin and Ben Nelson to vote with him on some important stuff. if this is thr price of repealing ObamaCare or stopping the ruinous CO2 regulations or overall spending reductions, I would say it’s well worth it.

rockmom on November 9, 2010 at 3:16 PM

Good point, but that is another issue the people are mad about is the horse trading with our money. That is why the 17th should be repealed and the money given directly to the state to be used for the people to manage the state not pork for stupid legislation and bridges to nohere.

xler8bmw on November 9, 2010 at 3:19 PM

It’s not the money! It’s the fact that earmarks are so often the result of corruption. An earmark can be a payoff for a political contribution, and the contributions can be hidden by ‘log-rolling’. Earmarks I also believe lead to congressional insider trading, and Boxer-like friends-and-family programs.

It’s not the nature of the project either, if it is worthy it can be funded in a standalone bill. The problem is that very few of them are worthy and would be laughed out of DC if they had to stand alone.

slickwillie2001 on November 9, 2010 at 3:20 PM

rockmom on November 9, 2010 at 3:16 PM

I’d rather they answer to their constituents than a bribe. The state should send less money to D.C., it is ridiculous to send money to Washington to prop up various organizations only to be filtered back to the states at grossly reduced rates and with grossly inflated strings attached.

Cindy Munford on November 9, 2010 at 3:20 PM

The argument against earmarks is that they can be used as bribes to get people to vote for a bill they would have opposed.

Jane on November 9, 2010 at 3:21 PM

P. Monk on November 9, 2010 at 3:10 PM

To get almost anything done in the Senate one side of an issue usually needs sixty votes. Democrats had it, they won’t after January.

Cindy Munford on November 9, 2010 at 3:22 PM

The prohibition of earmarks may not impact the defict much, but it will reduce fraud and corruption. Ban them for that reason.

al sends

afterdarknesslight on November 9, 2010 at 3:24 PM

The ballot ought to be public. It’s only when the citizens vote that the ballot should be secret. Let the light shine where our representatives vote.
unclesmrgol on November 9, 2010 at 3:14 PM

An easy way to track how our Representatives and Senators vote is to use the Library of Congress’s Thomas system.

http://www.thomas.gov/

The Thomas system is named for Thomas Jefferson. It shows the status of every bill in the House and the Senate and who voted for what.

Every patriotic American should take some time to explore this system now, so we are all ready to keep a very close eye on our elected “leaders” when they return to Washington.

wren on November 9, 2010 at 3:24 PM

The appropriated money should be allotted to each state from a fund for state needs to help the state pay for police, fire, beach replenishment etc.not useless woodstock museum garbage that much of the earmarks are allotted too. The WH cannot appropriate the money they can only give a budget and the house appropriates it. This is why it is essential to repeal the 17th amendment.

xler8bmw on November 9, 2010 at 3:13 PM

A better idea IMHO is to have an “earmark bill” that they keep amending and adding their earmarks to over the course of the Congress. Then some time in the second year they can vote on the whole thing, up or down. That way, it’s all out in the open. Every Congressman gets to take something home for his district (and let’s not kid ourselves, this is what many voters expect them to do), and the voters get to scrutinize the pork. If they think that it’s unfair, or excessive, they urge their representatives to vote “no”. One effect of this would be to limit the ability of both parties to buy the votes of “moderates” like Olympia Snowe, who have figured out that swing voting gets them a lot of pork. If way too much money is going to a few swing districts, the voters in other districts will demand a “no” vote on the whole thing.

joe_doufu on November 9, 2010 at 3:25 PM

What’s this secret ballot BS about?

huckleberryfriend on November 9, 2010 at 3:25 PM

As one of the great unwashed bitter clingers, my un-nuanced perspective on earmarks is this:

Bribes and “neighborhood protection money” are usually not huge percentages of a companies expenses, but the enable continued corruption. They distort and poison the whole environment, and a lot of SERIOUSLY ugly things happen as a result of their existence.

“Earmarks” is the government term for bribes and neighborhood protection money.

They are evil and stupid and must be stopped.

Similar to the NPR/PBS/CPB deal – if tax money from gov’t is such a small part of your income, then it will be okay with you if we stop it. If earmarks are such a small thing, then it will be ok if we just don’t do any in 2011.

Less on November 9, 2010 at 3:26 PM

Tone deaf and stuck on stupid.

Good grief.

Bruno Strozek on November 9, 2010 at 3:26 PM

Mitch: back away from the chalupa!!

NO MORE EARMARKS!!

Khun Joe on November 9, 2010 at 3:28 PM

Earmarks, comprehensive legislation and omnibus bills are merely a coward’s way out of being forced to introduce, explain, provide a rationale and validate expenditure of taxpayer funds for pet projects or other programs that if given a simple floor vote on the merits would probably be dumped in the waste basket.

Yes, they are a miniscule part of the current budget…but when you are dealing with trillions and trillions, what’s a few billion here and there, right?

It’s a start…and we need more such starts over the next several Congresses in order to be able to get our arms around the overall problem.

If the folks back home want to get a few million to plant tulips on all the bike paths in their district, then have their Senator or Representative stand up and propose it and defend the expenditure.

What is so darn difficult about that?

coldwarrior on November 9, 2010 at 3:29 PM

xler8bmw on November 9, 2010 at 3:13 PM

I see what your saying, but in that case, why have the money leave the state to begin with? Why in the Sam Hill are we sending our tax money to Washington, just so we can have Washington put it in a fund for “states need”? It makes Washington the arbiter of what becomes “states needs”. If the money is going to be allocated as such, then do away with the whole middle process and keep the money in the state to begin with.

If there is a project within a state that needs Federal dollars, then that project can be funded in a stand-alone, separate bill and debated and voted on that way.

Of course that’s just what’s messed up about the process. All the commenters noting why and what earmarks are used for are absolutely right – they are bribes, pure and simple.

catmman on November 9, 2010 at 3:31 PM

Like this is a revelation or something, Louis Renault and all that.

NY Conservative on November 9, 2010 at 3:33 PM

AllahP., you’re wrong on this.

If earmarks are that insignificant then it truly begs the question as to why a ban on them would distract the new GOP class from the harder matters.

Second, DeMint pointed out quite convincingly in his WSJ Op-Ed that while earmarks in and of themselves don’t amount to much numerically, they become the leverage that more entrenched members of Congress use to force unprincipled votes on legislation, particularly the kind of Christmas tree bills that turned the GOP into a shameful lot that deservedly lost in 2006.

We don’t have the luxury to ignore this grey area because it leads to serious legislative errors that will destroy any redemption the GOP might gain in the next 18 – 24 months. Either the new class is going to act on principle or they are going to turn the party of Lincoln into the party of Judas.

Pretending the ban is the petty part of the issues before Congress is whistling past a graveyard filled with fast zombies and rabid werewolves. Man the f’ up.

chimney sweep on November 9, 2010 at 3:33 PM

One recent year the argument placed for ignoring earmarks were that they are so minimal in comparison,because that year they only equaled $19B. Sure, just a small fraction of a percentage point. But ignoring enough of the little items will count up. How about the comparison to fighting crime starting with broken windows? Small stuff, but it seemed to work when used. But earmarks lead to corruption, just look into the history of the big earmarkers. Give bundles of tax payer money to the ones that in turn make a contribution to your campaign.

Oleta on November 9, 2010 at 3:33 PM

Progressive Dems drive the car over the cliff at 100 mph (yes with Slurpees in hand)

Progressive Republicans like the clown Mitch McC drive it over the cliff at 60 mph.

Either way……….over we go!!

PappyD61 on November 9, 2010 at 3:34 PM

And Inhofe is wrong wrong wrong on this one!

PappyD61 on November 9, 2010 at 3:35 PM

Well, I see the new “Conservative” Republican Party, the one that has gone back to its roots didn’t even last a week.

Jeff on November 9, 2010 at 3:35 PM

Also, we see how effective sending our money to Washington to be placed in a ‘special fund’ works: re/ Social Security.

catmman on November 9, 2010 at 3:35 PM

Also, why does it have to be a big fight and time waster to NOT do something?

“I won’t ask for earmarks”
“I’ll vote NAY on all bills that have earmarks in them, regardless of other content.”

Done.

That wasn’t so hard to say, understand, or implement, was it?

Less on November 9, 2010 at 3:37 PM

There’s nothing “symbolic” about it, and I don’t care how “small” the percentage of our whopping budget it is…

earmarks = corruption

The Mega Independent on November 9, 2010 at 3:37 PM

McConnell is a RINO and needs to be let out to pasture. The fact that he backs Liza Mercurykowskiwichicky in Alaska help to keep her on the committee is proof that he can’t be trusted with anything. We need fresh blood in the Senate leadership and no RINO blood.

flytier on November 9, 2010 at 3:38 PM

Am I suppose to think that these folks can make the tough stand on entitlements if they can’t stand against earmarks? I think the question of the disappearance of the Tea Party has been answered.

Cindy Munford on November 9, 2010 at 3:41 PM

Ear-marks corrupt the system because they are often used for bribes and patronage in support of Crony Capitalism.

talking stick on November 9, 2010 at 3:42 PM

Methinks the senator doth protest too much! No ermarks have popped up in the past few years that have anything to do with projects in KY, now do they?

DOOF on November 9, 2010 at 3:43 PM

…pols funneling taxpayer money to their home districts to buy influence…

Here’s the problem, no matter the amount – the pols using public money like it is their private piggy bank.

miConsevative on November 9, 2010 at 3:44 PM

So, let me get this straight, McConnell, earmarks aren’t important — except to the reelection campaigns of incumbents. “What the heck, it’s only a little bit (comparatively speaking) of the taxpayers’ money we’re spreading around here to keep ourselves in office.”

BS argument that justifies corruption, and it isn’t even true. How much pork was spread around — all at the taxpayers’ expense — to pass Obamacare?

You don’t get it, McConnell. Epic. Fail.

Aardvark on November 9, 2010 at 3:45 PM

Ear marks can be used as bribes. They were used several times by the Dems in the last congress to ram legislation through. The Cornhusker Kickback for Ben nelson, the Louisiana Purchase for Mary Landrieu, and who knows how many other special items to buy votes for Cap and Trade, Obamacare, Disclose Act and other noxious agendas.

Viator on November 9, 2010 at 3:47 PM

Is everyone emailing Sen. McConnell? It’s been fifteen minutes since the citizenry has been called stupid by someone in D.C..

Cindy Munford on November 9, 2010 at 3:48 PM

If you pay $500,000 to a corrupt senator you will get results.

That may not be much when compared to the enormous amounts of money being spent every year, but that really isn’t the point.

sharrukin on November 9, 2010 at 3:48 PM

The elitist RINOs can’t even get this gimme issue right. Is it any wonder that the RINO dominated Republicans keep shooting themselves in the foot? This is just pathetic and disgusting, and the porkers need to be named and shamed!

Ogabe on November 9, 2010 at 3:48 PM

rockmom on November 9, 2010 at 3:16 PM

ok for one, this sort of pork trading needs to stop in Washington.

Second, both of those Senators are up for re-election in 2012, both will be watching their votes carefully without the promise of pork. The Republicans/Conservatives won enough seats to threaten an effective filibuster against truly offensive bills and we have a large majority in the House now.

McConnell is wrong here, he is weak, he is old fashioned and he should not be the face of the opposition party next year.

Daemonocracy on November 9, 2010 at 3:50 PM

by secret ballot is the rub here for me. no one wants to be accountable for their vote to their boss: the people of the U.S.! Apparently, it only takes a week to forget the message just delivered to the Democrats.

search4truth on November 9, 2010 at 3:54 PM

catmman on November 9, 2010 at 3:31 PM

The LA State budget for 2008 was $29B. $20B were Federal funds. LA get back just under 100% of the money sent to the Fed. So we hire accountants and bookkeepers and do our taxes, twice, to send it to the same place.

barnone on November 9, 2010 at 4:04 PM

I told y’all that McConnell doesn’t get it. We need to kick his sorry ass out of the leadership spot! This guy is going to TOTALLY DESTROY our chances in 2012.

Jesus people – we just got a ONCE IN A LIFETIME MANDATE to cut government in some real ways. Getting rid of EAR MARKS is a concrete accomplishment that we can point to in 2012 to show Americans – YEP, WE WERE SERIOUS AND LOOK WHAT WE DID!

God … Mitch McConnell is going to sink this ship just like he did in 2008!!

Please – can’t someone … ANYONE – challenge this guy for minority leader?

HondaV65 on November 9, 2010 at 4:06 PM

If the earmark process is “needed” to keep the administration and the various agencies from directing the spending of the money… why don’t we also save some money by cutting employees at the various agencies? Clearly they aren’t needed.

myrenovations on November 9, 2010 at 4:08 PM

barnone on November 9, 2010 at 4:04 PM

Yep. Like I said…

catmman on November 9, 2010 at 4:10 PM

Q. Why is it every photo of McConnell looks like this fat porker just stumbled away from a long suck at the public teat???

You people from Kentucky – Please let this bloated POS know we no longer care “who takes home the bacon”. The only way one person ‘takes home the bacon’ is at somebody else’s expense. McConnell – If you do your job in accordance with your stated principles, you will get re-elected. Otherwise, you won’t. Not too difficult to figure out, is it?

If this useless, sweating, overfed, teat-sucking, porcine shit-head from KY still doesn’t get it, replace his sorry ass immediately.

alwyr on November 9, 2010 at 4:12 PM

We won the election, now the real work begins of convincing our Senators/Congressman to do the work we elected them to do. This phase of the Tea Party makeover is every bit as important as deciding who wins the musical chairs game in the elections. Give Mitch hell, we aint going back to the BushEra GOP

Raisedbywolves on November 9, 2010 at 4:13 PM

Geez… We had Schumer up here handing out a check and schmoozing with the mayor and local Dems just for the positive media attention our local paper was so thrilled to dish out for him. I’m sick of it. If the fed. gov’t has pay-to-play money to hand out, then we’re sending them too much in tax dollars to begin with.

Connie on November 9, 2010 at 4:13 PM

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