April 29, 2008
PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: Friends of the earmark make themselves heard:
The hottest document on Capitol Hill is an anonymous six-page white paper that defends, of all things, earmarks — those much-maligned home-state projects that lawmakers shoehorn into spending bills.
Doesn’t it say a lot that they’re afraid to make themselves heard, except . . . anyonymously?
A growing number of politicians have decided to just say no to earmarks. Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, has vowed to veto any legislation that contains “pork-barrel spending.” And several Democrats, including Rep. Henry Waxman (Calif.), have promised not to request earmarks anymore.
The trend worries many lobbyists (and some lawmakers), and they are beginning to fight back — in other words, to lobby. Although a publicist initially told the Washington Post otherwise, the Ferguson Group acknowledges that it helped persuade three mayors whose cities it represents to praise earmarks in a Post op-ed Saturday.
But the widely read white paper — “The Fairness of Congressional Earmarking in American Democracy” — is the biggest counterattack so far. The only question: Who wrote it?
My guess was that it was written by some lapper-at-the-public-trough, and sure enough, it turns out I’m right.
UPDATE: Reader John Schwab makes an excellent point:
I think you should be clearer in your response to that white paper. it’s a straw man – I don’t know of anyone who would say that earmarks can serve no purpose whatsoever. It’s out-of-control anonymous earmarks that must be eliminated, especially those that double back to benefit a congressman’s family. Indeed, if earmark abuse is not addressed Congress may lose the power to use earmarks that make sense.
Don’t let them re-frame the debate. If an earmark is such a good idea why won’t they take credit for authoring it?
Heck, they won’t even put their names on the memos defending them.