Monday, March 10, 2008

Republican Actions and Words on Pork

Conservatives who imagine that there is absolutely no reason to justify voting for John McCain might reconsider after reviewing this column by Robert Novak. However, you might question why one would bother with voting for many other supposed conservatives in the U.S. Senate. Sen. McCain has pledged to eliminate earmarks, but pork-addicted Republicans disagree. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has resorted to one of the best of all reform busting techniques: the study committee:

McConnell has appointed a "task force" of five Republican senators to study earmarks, headed by the universally respected Richard Lugar of Indiana. But Lugar has never shown much interest in the subject. The dominant member is Thad Cochran of Mississippi, ranking Republican on the Appropriations Committee and the Senate's reigning king of pork. Cochran, who not long ago suggested McCain is unfit to be president, has secured $774 million in earmarks this year. Add the earmarks of three other members -- Lugar, Johnny Isakson of Georgia and Mike Crapo of Idaho -- and the task force itself accounts for more than $1.1 billion in pork.

Putting Thad Cochran on a committee to study pork is a bit like putting the devil on a committee to study hell.

I can remember the good old days when Republicans could sneer at Democrat Robert Byrd as the most embarrassing practitioner of the art of enriching his state at taxpayer expense. Unfortunately, Republicans in positions to do so have been just as guilty of abuse of power.

When I first typed this post, I accidentally referred to Sen. McConnell as "majority leader." Fortunately, I caught the error before publishing it. Of course, he was once majority leader. As long as the Republicans continue governing this way, neither he nor any other member of his party is likely to be such again.


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