Wag the Blog Redux: Obama's Earmarking Approach
President Barack Obama's address on earmark reform last week prompted questions about his decision to sign a a $410 billion omnibus spending billthat included several billions of dollars of earmarks.
"I am signing an imperfect omnibus bill because it is necessary for the ongoing functions of government," Obama said at the time. "But I also view this as a departure point for more far reaching change.
In a recent Wag the Blog post, Fixastas were asked to weigh in on whether Obama's decision to sign an admittedly "imperfect" bill affects his reform credentials.
Some agreed with Sen. John McCain's (Ariz.) reaction last week (after the president signed the spending bill, McCain mocked Obama's pledge as Illinois Senator to go "line by line" through spending bills to slash unnecessary earmarks). Others said Obama's decision to sign it should not alter his reform credibility.
The most insightful comments -- as selected by Post.com politics producer Sarah Lovenheim -- are below.
Obama's No Reformer
"Obama talks out of both sides of the teleprompter when he blathers about earmarks. Here's what he said about this in the 10/7/08 debate: 'Senator McCain likes to talk about earmarks a lot. And that's important. I want to go line by line through every item in the federal budget and eliminate programs that don't work and make sure that those that do work, work better and cheaper.'"
"Methinks he didn't go through line by line." --swingvoter3
"Obama: I'm going to stop the earmarks right after I approve 8,500 of them. All Obama had to do was veto the bill. A clean replacement would have been back on his desk in 24 hours. What a FRAUD!" --mike8
"I am disappointed.. This is like Captain Renault in Casablanca saying he's 'shocked, shocked that gambling is going on in here,' as he is handed his winnings at the roulette table..."-- JOHNMOST
"As a pre and post election Obama supporter I am very disappointed that he isn't carrying through on his oft-repeated statement to go 'line through line' through the budget and remove the earmarks. I understand that there is urgency to passing the budget but it isn't enough to promise something repeatedly and then at the first opportunity to do it take a 'let's do that next time' approach. This is definitely the time to eliminate any unnecessary spending.." -- kdboston
"Of course it 'affects' his reform credentials. Especially because he can't justify the disconnect in his actions and his rhetoric. If he really just wanted to protect legitimate projects, why not still eliminate earmarks and have those projects go through committee and be appropriated? The only answer I can think of is that he doesn't want to pick a fight with Congress on an issue that isn't extremely salient with the public..." --Jindal2012
Obama Remains a Reformer
"Of course, Obama was right to sign this 'admittedly imperfect bill'. His main priority was to get the bill enacted, and putting those earmarks in the bill was the price he had to pay to get the 60 votes necessary to pass this legislation. He had to satisfy those few Senators who provided the key swing votes to enact the spending bill..." --cjprentiss
"Obama said he would work to reduce the number and value of earmarks and increase their transparency. He did not promise to eliminate them all. Signing this bill does not hinder his ability to work to reduce future earmarks." -- psears2
"You cannot simply say no earmarks and expect them all to go away. The omnibus bill was the result of months of horsetrading and negotiations over the specific details, it can't just be thrown out and resubmitted overnight..."-- kreuz_missile
"...Did Obama set a deadline for reform? No? Then he has not yet broken his promise. Did McCain persuade his colleagues to drop their earmark requests? No? Then why is he pointing fingers?..." -- j2hess
"Seems some people have President Obama confused with former presidential candidate John McCain. President Obama never said he was ridding the government of earmarks. He said he would add transparency and accountability to the issue. Furthermore, all the items in this bill have been gone over line by line -- essentially, that's how they made it into the bill in the first place. All of this balking about Obama being a liar is simply unsubstantiated..." --DinahS
"President Obama did not insert one earmark into this bill -- it is the responsibility of Congress to change the way it does business. Obama led on this issue during the campaign, and continues to lead in his speech today pledging to push for the elimination of earmarks, but in the end, it would be irresponsible for the President to not timely fund necessary government functions simply because Congress continues to play the earmark game..." -- jrosco3
Washington Post editors
March 16, 2009; 5:30 PM ET
Categories: Wag The Blog
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