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Posted at 3:38 PM ET, 12/15/2010

Does Obama support 6000 earmarks?

By Jennifer Rubin

Blogger Guy Benson reminds us that Obama not so long ago spoke out on the subject of earmarks. In 2009 Obama grudgingly signed a $410 billion omnibus spending bill filled with earmarks but vowed, "This piece of legislation must mark an end to the old way of doing business and the beginning of a new era of responsibility and accountability that the American people have every right to expect and demand."

If he was serious then, wouldn't it behoove the president, as he makes a play to recapture independent voters, to issue a veto threat? Otherwise, the Republicans will surely claim the high ground on the issue of fiscal discipline and try now or in January to nix the pork. Let's see how devoted Obama is, in the wake of the 2010 "shellacking," to put an end to "the old way of doing business."

By Jennifer Rubin  | December 15, 2010; 3:38 PM ET
Categories:  Budget, President Obama  
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Well, Obama's probably more devoted to ending it than John Thune, John Cornyn, or Mitch McConnell all of whom have written many earmarks actually in this bill, but why start worrying about truth now? Let's put the blame on the President, rather than the people who actually submitted the requests.

It's all Obama, all the time, isn't it Jennifer?

Posted by: 54465446 | December 15, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

"Otherwise, the Republicans will surely claim the high ground on the issue of fiscal discipline and try now or in January to nix the pork."

Is this your attempt at tongue-in-cheek levity, or do you actually believe this? I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume the former, because if you are delusional enough to buy that line, I can just quit reading your blog postings now and waste no more time.

Posted by: GomerGross | December 15, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Condemning earmarks is just a way to distract political discussion from important issues. They collectively are a trivial sum of money. If they are divided more or less evenly among districts, they are a way for Congressmen to decide what are especially important items for their districts that fell through the cracks. It was discovered that 10% of the earmarks in one big Dept. of Education grant program went to an expansion of nursing schools--a crying need in which Congressional earmarks, done individually and without consultation, were ahead of a need that the policy community is just waking up to.

Posted by: jhough1 | December 15, 2010 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Mr. President: Please veto this spending bill.

Thank you.

Posted by: lindalovejones | December 15, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Does Obama support 6000 earmarks?

Well, he does have big ears.

Posted by: veritasinmedium | December 15, 2010 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Earmarks are the canary in the coal mine of Congressional largesse. They represent the intimidation of younger, less powerful legislators by older, entrenched ones determined to bring money to state projects which should be financed by private or state funds. Legislators are buying votes back home and are engaging in graft, greed, and nepotism with the tax exempt foundations and pet projects funded through these hidden add-ons. Any project worth doing with tax dollars from federal collections should be considered as individual items, not slipped into unrelated bills.
The American public is angry because they are becoming aware of how their representatives are conducting business and do not approve of it. Look at the polls for satisfaction with Congress. Look at what happened in the last election. Ignore the tsunami warnings at your own risk. Jennifer has the right of it here. The Republicans are poised to wipe up the Democrats in January and again in 2012 if the pork stays in this bill. Obama has a chance to put his words into actions and reclaim some sort of high ground by veto power. We shall shortly see who is ready to play for 2012.

Posted by: PamK | December 15, 2010 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Jhough1 wrote:
"Condemning earmarks is just a way to distract political discussion from important issues. They collectively are a trivial sum of money."

No, earmarks are symbolic of a couple of very important issues. First, what are we actually spending our tax dollars on? Second, they represent the kind of sleazy horse trading and last-minute appropriations that represent "business as usual" in the Congress. Congress should spend money and it should spend money on things, but the question is WHAT things, HOW MUCH MONEY, and HOW MUCH TIME do we get to review what they are, in fact, spending our tax dollars on?

Finally, the sums may be "trivial" in the context of the overall federal budget, yet they can be politically quite meaningful for a Congress person running for re-election. Is the Congress person getting this money appropriated because it is the right thing to do? Or because it will get him/her votes?

The election was about the electorate basically pissed off about out of control spending and mounting debt. The message has yet to be fully received.

Posted by: karl-keller | December 15, 2010 11:02 PM | Report abuse

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