I love the fact that the GOP is taking a no earmark pledge. This is a great opening for Democrats in Georgia. Personally, I have nothing against earmarks. As I have said before, “One man’s bridge to nowhere is another man’s way home from work.”

I would love to see Georgia Democrats stand up and say, “The GOP has killed <insert project funded by earmark here> we as Georgia Democrats are going to try to revive it.”

Georgia gets a whole lot of Defense earmarks. Just some of them are: The Military Readiness Center at Hunter Army Airfield, The Combat Skills Marksmanship Trainer for the Army National Guard, Advanced Bio-Engineering for Enhancement of Soldier Survivability, and a whole bunch more. These projects all have one thing in common. Everyone of them was either sponsored or co-sponsored by Georgia Republicans.

I want to hear from the folks who took the no earmark pledge explain why the men and women who volunteered to protect us no longer deserve these earmarks. Or better yet, I would like to hear from the Democrats on why they DESERVE the earmarks.

There are a whole bunch of other groups that receive millions of dollars in earmarks here in Georgia. Farmers, schools, local law enforcement, hospitals, etc…all get earmarks. Again, how will the GAGOP explain to these folks that they will no longer request funding for them? Democrats should start talking to these folks and let them know that they will fight for them even if the GOP won’t.


18 Responses to Pork. Its’s what’s for dinner.

  1. Matt says:

    I’m starting to think that pork is not the electoral savior it once was. We’ve had three wave elections in a row plus another one the last decade. And swept up in those waves were numerous people that tried to campaign on their record of pork, but they still lost. Of course, not every election will be a wave, but a theme that seems to be repeating in my readings on American politics is that the solidification of polarization is making American politics quite different from what it was like in the 1970s. We’re seeing less ticket-splitting, more incumbent defeats, nationalization of elections, etc.

    In other words, I don’t think people are going to cast their votes based on pork anymore. It might add fuel to the fire if there is a pro-Democratic wave, but I don’t think it’s going to go very far in dislodging Republicans en masse.

  2. Dave Bearse says:

    The amusing part is that earmarks constitute 1% of expenditures. Returning to Mike Lukovich’s cartoon of a couple of weeks ago, the GOP didn’t identify then promise to cut anything significant, and now they’re going to deliver.

  3. Tim Cairl says:

    You realize if you ban all earmarks, then the bureaucrats in agencies will go back to deciding on individual programs again. They aren’t held accountable by voters.

    This is a huge executive power grab, and me no likey.

    • Drew says:

      That’s the point. A career employee of the executive branch has more interest in funding programs they have reason to believe will be successful than a member of Congress, who has his district and his reelection to think about first.

      The “executive power grab” is more worrisome, but given that this is a facton of all spending, the amount of power grabbed is probably also fractional, and in any case, Congress is capable of protecting its own interests in less questionable ways than earmarks.

  4. Jason says:

    All an earmark ban will do is increase pressure on agencies as they make awards through a competitive system. Trust me, when an appropriator barks, we listen.

  5. Gunner says:

    @Drew your whole comment just backed up what I was saying in the post. Thank you. I never said anything about any project being determined by the seniority of the representative. Maybe I didn’t make it clear enough for you but that whole part about Democrats talking about why groups DESERVE the funding. That would speak to the merits of the program. The whole point of the post was to show that there are worthwhile earmarks that should be funded and that the GOP no longer wants to fund them.

    “This sort of short term thinking will at best produce minimal short term gain”

    How is making sure our military is ready and trained for battle short term thinking? Or making sure that new fire stations get built or roads paved short term thinking? I actually think pointing out worthwhile projects Democrats have funded and will fund in the future is a great idea!

    “Minimal short term gain”

    Remember all those GOP Representatives who posed for photo ops holding up big checks for projects from the stimulus bill that they voted against? They are still in office.

    • Drew says:

      Yes, it is short term thinking to argue for earmarking itself when earmarking is a legitimate source of distrust in government and when distrust in government is contrary to the philosophy of your party and consistent with that of your opponent’s. You shouldn’t perpetuate a practice that helps your opponent make his case against you.

      If you simply want to argue for the programs, then fine, do that. But I’d leave earmarks out of it.

      • Daniel F. says:

        easy on the GOP kool aid, drew. its only 9:30, go back to coffee.
        stop using their perspectives, the world is a nicer, prettier place that way.
        plus, it becomes easier to understand these lefty talking points, like ‘dont defund our bases.’

        • Steve Golden says:

          I think “earmarks” are one of those GOP boogeyman terms. I agree– cut wasteful spending. We don’t need a bridge to nowhere, and perhaps we can allow debate on the issue of whether or not to give a half million (governmental chump change) to the University of Northern Alaska at Juneau’s Codfish Testicle Manipulation Program to study the mating patterns of the aformentioned pescatory creature. That seems both wasteful, and a little awkward to talk about over the dinner table.

          Which, on a tangent, reminds me that it only serves to make me cry to hear– in a two hour period on C-SPAN– Reps. Poe (R-TX) and another old guy– talk about the illuminating issues of “consummating a marriage” and “crush videos.” It was icky.

          Point being that I think that banning earmarks together, rather than reforming the system, may just gridlock government more, and will prevent small amounts of money from coming into districts that might need it, oftentimes for (as Gunner said) things that are actually good, rather than fish ball studies.

        • Drew says:

          Grow up, dear. Or explain to me why a program in my district which is more meritorious than one in yours should be denied funding because it my legislator has less pull, and how that is good government, and how it is good for anyone who argues that government is a solution, not a problem.

          Your knee jerk defense of Senators privileges is not progressive merely because it is opposed to Jim DeMint.

          • Jen B. says:

            Agreed. Just because the Republicans want an earmark ban doesn’t mean we should automatically oppose it.

            Why can’t the funding for pet projects be presented in it own bill and brought up for an up or down vote?

            • Gunner says:

              @Drew Again. I never mentioned anything about the seniority of the representative or who has the most pull in congress. I am talking about the project. Not how it’s funded. Focus on the project!

              @Jen Emergency earmarks to make sure that the 1st Armored Division has replacement turrets or boots for their feet while in combat simply cannot wait for the time it takes for a bill to move through congress. Or earmarks to make sure that Native American public defenders offices are funded because the stand alone bill wouldn’t make it through an up or down vote on its own.

              • Jen B. says:

                Or earmarks to make sure that Native American public defenders offices are funded because the stand alone bill wouldn’t make it through an up or down vote on its own.

                I see what you’re doing, but no.. I do not support strapping projects to successful bills simply because Congress won’t vote to authorize it. Arguably, it’s unDemocratic.

            • JerryT says:

              First, because there are thousands of them, and second, because it would amount to the same thing anyway. The legislators with the most pull would get their votes lined up and get their projects.

  6. JMPrince says:

    How to explain the presumed cognitive dissonance of applying one standard to their favored constituents while demanding another for someone else they don’t like? Or why ask why? Greedy Geezers? SSDD, Par for the course, and the bane of existence, well since created:


  7. Drew says:

    It is not in the best interests of Democrats – or anyone interested in good government – to advocate for a government where spending priorities are determined by the seniority of the representative who supports it rather than the merit of the project itself. The bridge to nowhere may be one person’s way home from work, but if the choice is between that person and, say, ten thousand like him elsewhere, then the ten thousand should take priority, even if their Senator isn’t Ted Stevens.

    If these projects have merit, and I’ll assume they do, then we should argue not that Republicans should support earmarks in order to ensure they are funded but rather that the Republicans should support sufficient spending such that all similarly meritorious projects are funded. If the refuse to because they’d rather cut taxes on rich people and their heirs, then we should criticize them that.

    Let’s not lose sight of the big picture. This sort of short term thinking will at best produce minimal short term gain, and the long term consequence will be an increase in the sort of destructive cynicism and distrust of the ability of government to do good work that fuel conservative victories.

  8. Jules says:

    Pork, not sure they are serving it at the dinner described below.

    FYI: “Pork” is what paved all the roads in Cobb.. thanks Newt!