Senator Jim DeMint has provided a clear voice against the corruption of pork-barrel spending, often castigating his own party while doing so. Along with John McCain, Tom Coburn, and Russ Feingold (D-WI), he has demanded that Congress act to stop the waste and influence peddling that earmarks subsidize. As such, he has a clear understanding of those who represent change, and those who offer business as usual, and he makes the distinction clear in his essay in the Wall Street Journal, emphases mine:
Mrs. Palin used her veto pen to slash more local projects than any other governor in the state’s history. She cut nearly 10% of Alaska’s budget this year, saving state residents $268 million. This included vetoing a $30,000 van for Campfire USA and $200,000 for a tennis court irrigation system. She succinctly justified these cuts by saying they were “not a state responsibility.”
Meanwhile in Washington, Mr. Obama voted for numerous wasteful earmarks last year, including: $12 million for bicycle paths, $450,000 for the International Peace Museum, $500,000 for a baseball stadium and $392,000 for a visitor’s center in Louisiana.
Mrs. Palin cut Alaska’s federal earmark requests in half last year, one of the strongest moves against earmarks by any governor. It took real leadership to buck Alaska’s decades-long earmark addiction.
Mr. Obama delivered over $100 million in earmarks to Illinois last year and has requested nearly a billion dollars in pet projects since 2005. His running mate, Joe Biden, is still indulging in earmarks, securing over $90 million worth this year.
Mrs. Palin also killed the infamous Bridge to Nowhere in her own state. Yes, she once supported the project: But after witnessing the problems created by earmarks for her state and for the nation’s budget, she did what others like me have done: She changed her position and saved taxpayers millions. Even the Alaska Democratic Party credits her with killing the bridge.
When the Senate had its chance to stop the Bridge to Nowhere and transfer the money to Katrina rebuilding, Messrs. Obama and Biden voted for the $223 million earmark, siding with the old boys’ club in the Senate. And to date, they still have not publicly renounced their support for the infamous earmark.
Who really represents change? Certainly not the duo that earmarks tens of millions of dollars every year, and in Obama’s case hundreds of millions of dollars a year. Obama and Biden have participated in the spoils system that enables massive, wasteful spending by essentially bribing legislators with home-town projects to bolster their political power. Obama even earmarked federal money for his wife’s employer without a thought as to the conflict of interest that represents.
Obama now wants to attack Sarah Palin for changing her mind on the Bridge to Nowhere. That would certainly be reasonable if Obama had ever opposed it himself. It might be reasonable if Obama chose to defend the $200 million boondoggle that would have served all of 50 people in Alaska. But neither are true; Obama has not admitted that his votes to support the Bridge to Nowhere were a mistake, nor has he offered a reason why Palin’s change of mind should be criticized.
John McCain opposed the earmark all along, as he opposes all earmarks. Sarah Palin has cut earmarks at some political risk in Alaska, and eventually made the right decision on the Ketchikan Bridge. What has Barack Obama done to eliminate wasteful government spending and stop earmarks? What has Biden done?
They’re the problem, not the solution. The more they talk about earmarks, the more this becomes apparent. McCain and Palin have actually taken action to reduce earmarks and curb pork-barrel spending, while Obama and Biden have only fed at the trough.