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Posted at 8:30 AM ET, 12/16/2010

Obama is fine with 6,000 earmarks

By Jennifer Rubin

Yesterday, we noted that Obama had once expressed determination to get rid of earmarks and "business as usual." But in case you thought he actually meant it, think again. Jake Tapper of ABC News reports:

The Obama administration today told Congress to pass an omnibus spending bill containing $8 billion in earmark projects, even though just a few days ago the president said one of the lessons he learned from the 2010 midterm elections was to take more seriously the public's disapproval of - and his pledge to oppose -- earmarks.

"We wish there were no earmarks and are troubled with their presence" in the $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill, an administration source told ABC News. "But Secretary Gates has told the President that the alternative bill" - a continuing resolution that for one year funds the government, which is due to run out of cash at the end of the week - "doesn't have the funding critical for several national security priorities."

Not only does this suggest that his promises of reform at his "shellacking" press conference was less than sincere, but it also indicates that Obama is unwilling to cross his Democratic allies, even as many of them go out the door. Not surprisingly, the Republicans pounced. Brad Dayspring, communications director for incoming Majority Leader Eric Cantor, blasted away:

"So right after his election rebuke, President Obama claimed that he would work together to reform earmarks and today he supports a bill that contains billions of dollars of wasteful pork. If that's the kind of reform the President had in mind, Eric Cantor isn't interested. People are furious and rightly so with the runaway spending and the joke process that they are watching Democrats engage in. Even after the election shellacking, the President and his party still don't get it. If he is serious about working together, he needs to take it seriously and pledge to veto this pork laden spending bill."

And, really, does the president want to go up against the Kristol bill in January? It seems both fiscally irresponsible and politically unwise at this stage in the game for Obama to embrace a noxious pork-filled bill. It is, frankly, giving Republicans a free swing at him and the congressional Democrats. We'll see if Republicans decide to fight the president now, or wait until January to make their mark.

By Jennifer Rubin  | December 16, 2010; 8:30 AM ET
Categories:  Budget, President Obama  
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Next: John Kerry tells Senate to give Putin whatever he wants


I think you left out a third option for pork-addicted Repubs: do nothing and go along to get along. That's how I'd bet it.

Posted by: bzod9999 | December 16, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Alternative headline:


By including many, many of their own earmarks in the bill, that they then vote against, Reps are publicly decrying what they privately toast. They have literally the best of both worlds. Their states will benefit financially from its passage while they can hypocritically blame Dems.

Of course the idea of simply REMOVING their earmarks from the bill as they could do with a phone call, no doubt never occurred to the Reps because that would mean they stood on principle alone, and had no chance to gain financially.

Don't hold you breath!

Posted by: 54465446 | December 16, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

I guess in 2012 Obama will not be giving anymore of those "yes, we can" speeches. He will not be able to use slogans like "change you can believe in". Maybe he can go to W and ask him for slogans like "as long as the rich keep getting richer the election is ours".

Posted by: MickyD1 | December 16, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

I guess Obama considers earmarks to be "unacceptable" in the same way that Iranian nuclear weapons are "unacceptable." Perhaps he will call on the world to "bear witness" to this porkapalooza.

Posted by: Larry3435 | December 16, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Larry3435 wrote:

I guess Obama considers earmarks to be "unacceptable" in the same way that Iranian nuclear weapons are "unacceptable."


How each example of “unacceptable” sheds light on the other example of complete spineless insincerity is truly frightening.

Posted by: nvjma | December 16, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

It's not the pork that is the most ominous problem with this omnibus spending bill, it's the rarely mentioned poison pill...that of providing about a billion in funding for Obamacare implementation and Obama's new IRS enforcer brown-shirts.

Obama loves himself some spending and he certainly would never even consider a veto to any legislation that pushes his precious Obamacare forward.

As for being a hypocrite about earmarks... Please, the man has no shame. Everything Obama says comes with an expiration date.

Posted by: marybel9999 | December 16, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Hey for the last three posters.

You DO know this a function of Congress, right? Why wouldn't you blame those hyprocritical Reps who have plenty of pork in this bill? How incredibly stupid do McConnell, Cornyn and Thune look to say that I'm voting against a bill that I put earmarks in? Is this a made to love campaign commercial for the future on the lines of John Kerry "I voted for the bill before I voted against it?

Does reality ever invade your universe?

Posted by: 54465446 | December 16, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Only one word needed - hypocrite. Others that come to mind are naive, thin-skinned, over rated, devisive, unqualified. When will the media see it??

Posted by: CayC | December 17, 2010 7:40 AM | Report abuse

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