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January 23, 2008

THE EXAMINER: Has Bush Lost His Spine on Earmarks?

Public anger over earmarks cost Republicans their majority in Congress in 2006, but Democrats have proven themselves equally incapable of getting rid of outrages like the Bridge to Nowhere. More than 11,700 earmarks, totaling $16.9 billion, are attached to 2008 spending bills. It’s now up to President Bush to make good on his promise to “end this practice” once and for all. . . .

But Bush hesitates to exercise his authority. Surely he doesn’t fear challenging a Congress that trails him in public approval surveys. House Republican Whip Roy Blunt, R-Mo., has reportedly warned administration officials that meddling with earmarks will anger GOP members who are responsible for 40 percent of those in the 2008 spending bills. But what about angry taxpayers who see their hard-earned tax dollars being shoveled out the back door, and who correctly view earmarks as politically corrupting payoffs?

What, indeed? I could carve a better backbone out of a banana.

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