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Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 04/23/2010

Ratcheting up the earmarks challenge

By Paige Winfield Cunningham

Eternal obliteration isn’t what earmarks deserve; they just need reform, House Republicans announced this morning. Virginia’s Bob Goodlatte led the GOP crew in inviting Democrats to swear off earmarks and use that money instead to whittle away at the national debt.

Critics like to point out that earmarks are just a smidgen of our budget—which is true. But who cares? It’s a good way for Republicans to gain more political capital for November while calling Democrats to bat on an issue for which they’ve already stepped out onto the diamond.

Politicians love to mount platforms of principle, even if those platforms don’t really help anyone (see McCain suspending his campaign during the Wall Street crisis). As I noted yesterday, Rep. Eric Cantor gave up the chance to fund some good projects for his district. But now, by rallying the troops and focusing on the real problem of earmarks—wasteful, discretionary spending at the whims of a single lawmaker—Republicans could do themselves a lot of good, and the budget a little bit of good.

Paige Winfield Cunningham is an investigative reporter and managing editor at Old Dominion Watchdog. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.

By Paige Winfield Cunningham  | April 23, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  HotTopic, Local blog network, Va. Politics, Virginia, economy  
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