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Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 595 -- Earmarks Undermined Trust, Ruined Republican Brand.
Pork Was The Problem, Politically-
The Republican Party is looking for answers right now. In 2006, Democrats just really stuck it to Republicans in Congressional elections. In 2008, Obama really just walloped us again. These things are cyclical. The President's party usually loses seats in midterm elections, as a rule, so 2006 was nothing too out of the ordinary. In 2008, Obama won places like North Carolina and Indiana. That is just unacceptable.
The Republican brand was tarnished by a lot of things, including Mark Foley's non-sex sex scandal (which dominated media coverage in the final month of the 2006 cycle) and the idea that the GOP was a corrupt party in bed with lobbyists and special interests. I think fatigue over the Iraq war probably played a role, as well, but when I am at events with a lot of Republicans, listening to what they care about, almost uniformly they express that they are angry their Republican Party spent like drunken sailors and let budget deficits get out of control. They hate the spending. They hate the pork barrel projects.
Pork, while only a relatively small piece of an enormous spending problem, is the symbolic embodiment of wasteful spending. When people think of out-of-control deficits, they don't conceptualize that Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are the big three auto-pilot programs inflating the budget deficit the very most. They think of bridges to nowhere and other pork projects:
Pork is back up under Democrats, and lots of unprincipled RINOs are joining them at the slop trough.
Republicans won't take back Congress until our Party stands for something. We can't be lite-Democrats. That doesn't mean that we can't reach out to moderates, but we can't pander to moderates so much that we dilute what we stand for.
Previous Trivia Tidbit: Kudos To Rick Perry On UI Rejection.
Posted by Will Franklin · 20 May 2009 04:22 PM
Plus pork projects too often look like corruption or payoff to donors. The reaction of most locals is WHAT? (or WTF?) These projects are often ones that can not get approval by local government.
Posted by: JGsez at May 20, 2009 06:35 PM
"but we can't pander to moderates so much that we dilute what we stand for."
By pandering to the moderates, I take it you mean listening to the voters? The US is a centrist nation, whether or not you like it. It does best when it has a center-leaning Democratic administration or a center-leaning Republican administration. Note that 2000-2008 was a right-wing administration, and it hurt.
Don't pander to anyone... listen to the American people. That is what the elected leaders are supposed to do in a democracy. George W Bush never understood that, and barely masked his contempt for democracy. He took the nation on a course the American people did not want. His incredible earmarks, not to mention his incredible deficit spending spree, were about him solidifying his power among his congress, not about helping the US.
Yes, both parties are tax-and-spend. Both parties use earmarks in order to get their bills pushed through. Earmarks dramatically rose in 2008, let's be clear. The pork is bipartisan.
Earmarks won't go away until we dismantle the industrial-military-congressional complex. That's the biggest trough.
Posted by: neil at May 21, 2009 09:32 AM
There you go again. Neither George W. Bush, or any other President, has ever created an earmark. Nor do Presidents balance budgets or create deficits. The President proposes and Congress disposes. The President of the US can not spend one cent. US fiscal health, or ill-health, is the sole responsibility of the US Congress. Unfortunately, the President gets the blame or credit. All a President can do is veto a bill which is why Congress puts earmarks into essential spending legislation.
Bush certainly should have done more to reign in the earmark spending of his party however. The same holds true for Obama.
Posted by: JGsez at May 21, 2009 12:21 PM