Archive for the ‘Earmarks’ Category


Friday, November 19th, 2010



Saturday, November 13th, 2010
  • The Wall Street Journal
    • NOVEMBER 12, 2010

    Sen. Jim DeMint is offering Republicans a chance to prove they meant what they said on spending.


    • Senate Republicans ran to midterm victory last week hitting every single high note. One week in, they risk ruining the aria with some off-key grunge.

    What issue could prove so important that senators would risk blowing up the vision of a GOP unified against spending? Earmarks, of course. You know, the ugly little spending perks that have grown into one of Washington’s biggest political liabilities. The pork that earlier this year was unilaterally sworn off (to public praise) by House Republicans, who appear to be ready to do the same even in their new majority.

    In the Senate, not so much. South Carolina’s Jim DeMint is offering his party its first opportunity to prove it meant what it said, by offering up a moratorium on Republican senators’ earmarks. Fifteen GOP senators—including six senators-elect—are co-sponsoring the ban, which will get its vote on Tuesday. At least 13 Senate Republicans—spearheaded by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Jim Inhofe—are going to the mat to keep the spending privileges. Twenty senators are apparently still mulling over the complex decision of whether to demonstrate some principle.

    And so, instead of the GOP leading the debate on spending freezes or ObamaCare, the newspapers and radio programs are filled with Mr. Inhofe declaring an “all out war” against those in his party trying to demonstrate some spending restraint. The Oklahoman, who is looking forward to the upcoming highway spending bill, went further to lament that so many Americans have become “brainwashed” on the earmark issue. That’s it. Blame the voters. It worked so well for Democrats.

    Instead of Republicans using their air time to pressure President Obama over taxes, they are using precious hours to explain why earmarks are good, moral, even a constitutional duty. Americans are told, on the one hand, that earmarks are too small a budget item to merit this much attention yet, on the other hand, are too important for funding big, vital projects to relinquish. Untangle that one. Another favorite is that the earmark debate is siphoning attention away from more “serious” budget debates. Because Republicans can’t walk and chew gum at the same time?

    Instead of the GOP giving its grass-roots something to cheer about, it has created its first fault line. The antagonized Tea Party Patriots, an umbrella group, has now sent out an email to 134,000 members urging them to do “battle” with a Republican Senate. The conservative blogs are already slamming the party.

    Sen. Jim DeMint is offering Republicans a chance to prove they meant what they said on spending.




    Friday, November 12th, 2010

    Published on The Weekly Standard (

    Stephen F. Hayes

    November 11, 2010 4:45 PM

    Ben Smith has a good piece on John Thune’s vulnerabilities as a 2012 presidential candidate. Smith’s post raises the central question: Is Thune too “establishment” for the current political environment?

    That question is surfacing well before the start of real 2012 policy jockeying thanks to an effort by Senator Jim DeMint to reinvigorate his push for a moratorium on earmarks. DeMint is pushing for a vote on the moratorium next week. Several of his colleagues in the GOP caucus, including some of its leaders, are pushing back. And Senator Jim Inhofe, the conservative from Oklahoma, after “weeks of planning,” is launching a “campaign” to save earmarks, according to an article in the Tulsa World.

    Some of the opposition to DeMint’s proposal is pro-earmark. Some of it is anti-DeMint. The net result is something even the most optimistic Democratic strategists could not have imagined: One week after Republicans scored historic victories in the 2010 mid-term elections thanks to growing concern about the size and scope of government, prominent Republicans are spending their time and resources defending earmarks – often in public.

    THE WEEKLY STANDARD is contacting Senate offices in an effort to put together a running tally of support for DeMint’s moratorium. The response so far is not encouraging. Some offices have not responded to our inquiries and several others have provided only vague statements about earmarks.

    John Thune is in a tough spot. He has been a defender of earmarks but also a supporter of an earmark moratorium. In an interview with me in August, he specifically mentioned “the DeMint amendment” and reiterated his support for it. “I think we ought to completely stop it for a while and figure out what we’re going to do,” said Thune. (more…)



    Sunday, November 7th, 2010

    Oct 18 2010

    COBURN: Education pork stalls


    Congress can’t stop throwing away your money

    The Washington Times, By Senator Tom Coburn, M.D.

    Across the country, America is waking up to the fact that our education system is broken and needs to change. I’m convinced the public understands, now more than ever, that virtually every effort to improve education from the federal government has failed miserably.

    Since 1965, the federal government has invested more than $2 trillion in American education without improving outcomes. Per-pupil spending at the kindergarten-through-12th-grade level has more than doubled since 1970, yet outcomes have not improved. Since 1970, long-term scores in reading, math and science have remained flat. The pupil-to-teacher ratio has improved from 22.3 pupils per teacher in 1970 to 15.7 in 2005, yet scores haven’t improved. Increased federal “investments” in higher education have caused college to become less affordable without improving graduation rates. The list goes on and on and on. (more…)



    Friday, November 5th, 2010
  • The Wall Street Journal
    • NOVEMBER 5, 2010

    The Boehner Evolution

    House Republicans and the challenge of divided government.

      • John Boehner is no Newt Gingrich, which suits the current public mood. Americans have had their fill of triumphalism and revolution in a House Speaker. But Barack Obama is also no Bill Clinton, a President with a gift for tactical politics and compromise. And therein lies the drama of the next two years as we return to divided government. We’re probably destined more for gridlock than accomplishment, which after the last two years is an accomplishment itself.
    In his press conference yesterday, Mr. Obama did not sound like someone ideologically chastened by the rout of his fellow Democrats. He said he felt “bad” for so many careers cut short, and that he was thinking about his own role in the defeat. But he rejected the thought that his own policies were to blame, save for the fact that they haven’t—yet—produced an economic recovery robust enough to make everything else he did popular. His concessions to defeat, in short, were limited to a reflective personal tone, not substance.

    The message we take away is that Mr. Obama will continue to press his “transformative” agenda in any way possible. Even on cap and trade—an issue that West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin literally shot in a TV ad to save his campaign—Mr. Obama said yesterday he would seek other means to accomplish the same goal of taxing carbon. We can only imagine what soon-to-be-jobless Democrats in the Coal Belt and Midwest thought of that one.

    Which brings us to Mr. Boehner, who saw the Gingrich train wreck of 1995 up close as part of the leadership. He knows Republicans can’t govern from the House, so his challenge will be picking the issues on which he might be able to succeed, or at least frame the agenda for the election of 2012.

    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, center, with Haley Barbour, chairman of the Republican Governors Association, left, and House Republican leader John Boehner after the Republican sweep in the midterm elections.





    Thursday, November 4th, 2010
    • The Wall Street Journal
    • NOVEMBER 3, 2010

    Welcome, Senate Conservatives

    Remember what the voters back home want—less government and more freedom.


    Congratulations to all the tea party-backed candidates who overcame a determined, partisan opposition to win their elections. The next campaign begins today. Because you must now overcome determined party insiders if this nation is going to be spared from fiscal disaster.

    Many of the people who will be welcoming the new class of Senate conservatives to Washington never wanted you here in the first place. The establishment is much more likely to try to buy off your votes than to buy into your limited-government philosophy. Consider what former GOP senator-turned-lobbyist Trent Lott told the Washington Post earlier this year: “As soon as they get here, we need to co-opt them.” (more…)

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