November 26, 2006


As Power Shifts in New Congress, Pork May Linger (DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK, 11/26/06, NY Times)

[Senators Ted Stevens of Alaska and Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii] routinely deliver to their states more money per capita in earmarks — the pet projects lawmakers insert into major spending bills — than any other state gets. This year, Alaska received $1.05 billion in earmarks, or $1,677.27 per resident, while Hawaii got $903.9 million, or $746.05 per resident, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonpartisan group that tracks such figures.

Representative Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader, and many Democratic candidates have railed for months against wasteful “special interest earmarks” inserted into bills “in the dark of night.” Now their party’s electoral victories mean that Mr. Stevens will hand Mr. Inouye the gavel of the Senate defense appropriations subcommittee, which presides over the largest pool of discretionary spending and earmarks. But if the Democratic leaders are talking about “earmark reform,” that may be news to Mr. Inouye.

“I don’t see any monumental changes,” Mr. Inouye said in a recent interview.

Democrats were elected, just like Republicans before them, to bring home the bacon, not to share it more evenly.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 26, 2006 10:50 AM

The only change I see is how Mr. Instapundit's campaign will be covered. It will be interesting to watch when he finds he was used only as a way to help the democrats get elected. Will he become more or less involved in politics? Figure out there is a big difference between the two parties? Go mad like Perot? It will be fun to watch.

Posted by: Robert Mitchell Jr. at November 26, 2006 11:41 AM

As so often in politics, the Law of Unintended Consequences was ignored by people who thought this time they amd their cause was so just that would be immune to it.

I was never impressed witht the whole "Porkbusters" crusade. I never saw any indication among the campaign that they realized that, unlike the GOP, the Dems have no instituitional bias against pork, and, again unlike the GOP, no way to shame them into cutting back when they inevitably overdo it. (Contrast Stevens "bridge to nowhere" that did vs. everything named Byrd in W.Va.) The Dems are historically the party of spending, favors, pork, and petty graft and corruption, and yet these idealists campaigned to put not just the party, but the same exact people, in charge who were in charge before '94. Talk about your things so stupid only intellectuals believe in them.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at November 26, 2006 12:09 PM

I had several comments similar to Raoul' s either lost in space or deleted about "right" leaning bloggers being wined and dined and romanced by the media. The pork busters meme was blown out of proportion by some of these same bloggers to the applause of the left.

We've always run the government by congress critters voting for each others appropriations. If they don't get too powerful and greedy like Senator Byrd, the system works just fine.

I wouldn't worry about Mr. Instapundit. I dare say it would never occur to him that he was being used and he wouldn't believe it if anyone brought it to his attention. He doesn't suffer from false modesty or self-doubt.

Posted by: erp at November 26, 2006 3:38 PM