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Posted at 1:35 PM ET, 11/16/2010

So many GOP earmark opponents

By Marc Thiessen

After Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announced his support for a GOP earmark ban, other Republican senators, including many earmark supporters, quickly joined the anti-earmark bandwagon.

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison -- who lost her GOP gubernatorial primary running on her ability to deliver earmarks for Texas, and who faces a potential Tea Party challenge in 2012 -- came out in favor of the ban. So did Senate Republican Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander, who voted on the senate floor against banning earmarks last year.

But one senator who did not wait for McConnell's announcement was Sen. John Barrasso, whom I mistakenly cited in my column Monday as one of the GOP senators still wavering on the ban. Last Thursday, Barrasso issued a statement supporting the earmark moratorium, declaring:

The message from the 2010 election was unmistakable: Washington spends too much and borrows too much. I want to take every possible step to reduce spending, decrease the debt and limit the size of the federal government. Since joining the Senate in 2007, I have voted consistently for earmark reform. Banning earmarks will not on its own put our fiscal house in order. It will however send a strong message that we need to do something different, and I plan to continue to vote for it.

Good for Barrasso for making the right choice, and doing it before McConnell's announcement made the outcome in the GOP conference inevitable. Bad on me for missing his statement.

By Marc Thiessen  | November 16, 2010; 1:35 PM ET
Categories:  Thiessen  | Tags:  Marc Thiessen  
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Hey "Torture" Thiessen, how come nobody is leaving comments on this inconsequential and feeble article? Listening to pork-barrel Republicans swear off earmarks is like listening to a drunk outside a bar claiming he just had his "last" drink.

Posted by: gposner | November 16, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Thiessen the SISSY spews again

Posted by: vettesport | November 16, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Thissen, there's one earmark I'd like to see: YOUR ear, tagged, with a bovine ear tag.


Posted by: sasquatchbigfoot | November 16, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

American voters are dimwitted enough that they might just buy this earmark nonsense (which accounts for .00000000001% of spending)

Meanwhile, the GOP will add billions to the deficit by refusing to end tax cuts for billionaires and end rampant defense spending.

It's another devious, yet effective, Republican assault on the middle class. Well done, Thiessen, as the Right's ally in the media you are doing a swell job of contributing to Americans' ignorance and stupidity at the same time you are sentencing my children to a lifetime of digging the country out of your debt.

Posted by: SmallBusiness | November 16, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Don't get to dwon on Thiessen. After all, he does this column gratis (for nothing). You can't expect him to sit around all day thinking up worthwhile topics.

Posted by: tommytunes | November 16, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

The GOP's corruption is already corroding America.

Posted by: walker1 | November 16, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

OK, so let's start by agreeing that profligate spending is bad. And earmarks are bad. We get it--our legislators should be done with earmarks, already. And they should just close the wallet when it comes to anything but critically important spending. But only fools believe we can solve our deficit problem ONLY with spending cuts (not without insurrection, that is).

Must agree with SmallBusiness: this will probably be another GOP "bait-and-switch" diversionary tactic used to blunt any real modification, let alone repeal, of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. Then there's defense spending . . . .

So take a bow, Mitch McConnell and crew. You're great at window-dressing. And thanks, worthless-as-men's-nipples Marc Thiessen, for your cheerleading.

Posted by: post_reader_in_wv | November 16, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

The GOP still owes the US Tax Payer 12.5 Trillion dollars from the last time it was in power.

The GOP has a long corrupt history of earmarks.

Dick Cheney took 6 Billion dollars in No Bid Contracts for his company Halliburton's first bite at the Iraq pork trough all payed for by US Tax payers.

Then Halliburton were joined by Dumsfeld's KBR and all those other GOP veted for Iraq pork companies.

And now the Republican's are in for a couple of weeks and already are picking out their earmarks.

There is nothing as corrupt as a Republican politician.

Posted by: walker1 | November 16, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Theissen, want to take a break from lying once in a while? I know, it is in your blood, but you should fight it. You lie about everything now...

Posted by: LABC | November 16, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Republicans are smart to do this because they can fool the public into thinking they are doing something significant to slow spending. They are not. Earmarks are not even a percent of what we burn through.But Republicans have displayed skill in playing on public perceptions. Recently Mitch McConnell campaigned against TARP and other government bail-outs while failing to mention that he supported TARP, voted for it, and passed it onto Bush for signing. As a liberal, I admire the Machiavellian skills of Republicans

Posted by: Waterloo1 | November 16, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

"Banning earmarks will not on its own put our fiscal house in order."

Why are Republicans trying to claim that the money they've demanded in earmarks is "nothing"?

Mitch McConnell alone has demanded over a billion dollars!

So Repubicans can demand a BILLION dollars to spend in Kentucky alone, call that peanuts, and still call themselves "conservative"?

I'd have to say that Republicans don't know the definition of "conservatve" at all.

Posted by: lindalovejones | November 16, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

This is just posturing to fool the foolish. Congresspersons will continue to earmark, they'll essentially just change the name.

And they SHOULD be earmarking - it is part of what we elect them to do - bring much needed federal power to benefit us in our specific area. "Earmark" and "pork" are just political throwaway terms that politicians use during elections to rile up the yahoos.

Posted by: John1263 | November 16, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

What baloney. Congresspersons will continue to earmark and just change the name or a few cosmetics.

They will do this because part of why we elect them is precisely to earmark - bring much needed federal help for projects we need at home. Using these terms that so few actually have the slightest inkling about is just a way to rile up the yahoos at "votin' time." And there are no bigger yahoos than those in the working classes who ever vote republicon. It is like voting - no, begging -- to have Beckam kick you in the groin wearing steel toe boots.

Posted by: John1263 | November 16, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

I wonder how long its going to be before the Republican governor of one of these red states goes to his Republican Senator and say "hey Senator, we have this pressing need for xyz and there's no way to fund it from the state budget. Can you help us out?" followed by an earmark for this "worthy cause". Just remember, Sarah Palin was for the Alaskan bridge to nowhere before she was against it. So saying you're against earmarks is a lot different than being against earmarks.

Personally I don't think the Republicans can actually hold out a full two years. They'll beat the Dems about the head with earmarks until one of them get caught. I suspect that will be just before the Aug break in 2011.

Posted by: elkiii_2008 | November 16, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

The GOP is not going to give up earmarks. They are just going to "redefine" what earmarks are and then take the money.

Posted by: lddoyle2002 | November 16, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

It's my money and I don't want it wasted or used in a corrupt fashion. You should demand the same.

Posted by: richard36 | November 16, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Corruption, the GOP could learn of few things from " The Chicago Gang".

Posted by: tomkat2 | November 16, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

I don't believe for a millisecond that either party is going to do anything other than redefine what constitutes an earmark, but any tempering of the earmark culture is very good news for the blue and moderate states (which generally supply the federal gov with revenue because they have working, dynamic economies) and very bad for the red states (which generally disproportionately benefit from federal money and have weak, stagnant economies). Once these rural red states realize the size of the hit their economies are going to take under this plan, they're going to have to search hard for a way to blame their economic problems on Obama.

Liberals should be praying for a smaller government. That way productive states like California and NY will be able to keep their money for their own services instead of shipping off to get misspent in places like Alaska and Alabama that still can't get their act together even when piggybacking the rest of us (although there are signs that the red states are aware of this as the election of Murkowski demonstrates). Blue states need to look federal spending very differently. Most of it goes to war anyway. If the DNC had any sense it'd play this up and point out how ludicrously disproportionately federal cash gets allocated.

Posted by: justin_timberwolf | November 16, 2010 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Earmarks = Jobs. Enough said.

Posted by: Sbtbill | November 16, 2010 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Great! Democratic Senators, please let the Republicans have their meaningless "earmark" issue--in return for real compromise on the tax cuts for millionaires. Let the Bush cuts expire for households with $500,000 in income this year, $400,000 next year, and $300,000 the year after that.

Posted by: dricks | November 16, 2010 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Great! Democratic Senators, please let the Republicans have their meaningless "earmark" issue--in return for real compromise on the tax cuts for millionaires. Let the Bush cuts expire for households with $500,000 in income this year, $400,000 next year, and $300,000 the year after that.

Posted by: dricks | November 16, 2010 8:14 PM | Report abuse

Chicago Gang ain't got nuthin' on the good ol' boy system. Ben duin' it much longer.

Posted by: UiMaine | November 16, 2010 10:02 PM | Report abuse

This is a public notice that no one has the right to publish any of my literary works without my consent. The exception being those works that were already submitted to the NY Times, which did state that it had the publishing right to comments. No one else has a copyright on my literary works, which are distinct from comments.

Posted by: pennydantonio | November 16, 2010 10:16 PM | Report abuse

MORE GOP SMOKE AND MIRRORS.. Earmarks make up less than 1% of the annual federal budget. Meanwhile, those fiscally responsible want to repeal OBAMAcare (adds $198 billion back onto the 10 year deficit), make BUSH tax cuts for millionaires permanent($700 billion over 10 years) and continue rampant defense spending.You CAN fool some of the people ALL of the time...thus, the TEASPOONERS.

Posted by: mrtimmaulden | November 16, 2010 10:27 PM | Report abuse

MORE GOP SMOKE AND MIRRORS.. Earmarks make up less than 1% of the annual federal budget. Meanwhile, those fiscally responsible want to repeal OBAMAcare (adds $198 billion back onto the 10 year deficit), make BUSH tax cuts for millionaires permanent($700 billion over 10 years) and continue rampant defense spending.You CAN fool some of the people ALL of the time...thus, the TEASPOONERS.

Posted by: mrtimmaulden | November 16, 2010 10:27 PM | Report abuse

By the way....Penny Dantonio, I googled your name several different ways. What an incredibly vast array of literary work, and all of it so "plagerizable". Bully for you!!!

Posted by: mrtimmaulden | November 16, 2010 10:31 PM | Report abuse

A Senator without an earmark is like a pimp without a prostitute.

I hope I don't need to explain this any further.

Posted by: helloisanyoneoutthere | November 16, 2010 11:11 PM | Report abuse

I swear that I am finally totally disgusted with US politics. I hope that it is not like this around the world. There is such a total lack of honesty, service orientation, wisdom, humanity and just plan old decency in the current political system or should I say the current politicians that it really makes one despair for the future of this country. It just seems that if there are good people, good leaders out there they definitely have not become politicians

Posted by: MickyD1 | November 16, 2010 11:26 PM | Report abuse

Earmarks are a fiscal bugfart. You could wipe them out completely and it would have essentially zero impact on the balance of payments.

BUT, you need a background in basic arithmetic to understand that. GOP leaders do. They assume you don't. They might be right.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | November 16, 2010 11:53 PM | Report abuse

Is anyone really buying this earmark and fiscal conservative bull crap from the republicans. Really?

Banning earmarks that represent less than 1% of the budget - while at the same time rallying endlessly and shamelessly for borrowing $800 billion which will be added directly to the deficit for tax cuts for the top 2%. Keep your earmarks you clowns, and kill the tax cuts for the millionaires - that's a statement on the deficit, not this tiptoeing around nothing.

Posted by: notfooledbydistractions1 | November 17, 2010 7:26 AM | Report abuse

wasn't an earmark spending freeze and term limits promised in the gop contract for america in '94, i guess we're supposed to believe that they really mean it this time.

Posted by: blinwilly | November 17, 2010 7:30 AM | Report abuse

So many many angry libs. Looks like the GOP did the right thing. And that was on day one. Cant wait to see how angry you get by the end of the week.................LOL.

Posted by: wxyz6200 | November 17, 2010 8:29 AM | Report abuse

Torture anyone today Mr. Thiessen?

Posted by: CardFan | November 17, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

GOP is against earmarks.

So, the Dem Party of No is for earmarks.

Good position, being for earmarks.

You guys learned a lot from the election.

As did Pelosi, your perfect leader.

Posted by: drjcarlucci | November 17, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

The conventional wisdom is that Ear Marks cost $15B. There have been all kinds of abuses, Ben Nelson's health care, bridges, etc. However, most actually produce something; many are valuable.

However, there is an elephant in the room of Ear Marks that hasn't been discussed and/or quantified. That is the defense contracts that are spread across "all" Congressional districts resulting in Congress allocating money for projects the armed forces don't want.

Would someone come up with a dollar figure for the DoD Ear Marks? I'm going to hazard a guess of $100B, at least 6 times the civilian pork.

Posted by: stanassc | November 17, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

It isn't just about the money. Lawmakers trading their votes for freebies from the government for their state is immoral. If the expenditure can't stand on its own to be funded it should never be attached to another bill. The custom of allowing an earmark for a vote has to end and especially in this economy. Back to basics is what the last election was about--not bridges to nowhere or sheep processing which was the earmark my defeated rep sponsored in an area with NO sheep except the voters who were smart enough to turn on her.

Posted by: TaxpayerIL | November 18, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

What makes this hilarious is that GOP members actually think this will help cut down on the deficit

They are THAT stupid

Posted by: Bious | November 20, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

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