Thursday, July 19, 2007

This is sad, but occasionally I feel compelled to mention other points of view

While we've all been enjoying Republican Jeff Flake's (R-AZ) smack-down of our Pat's earmark hypocrisy (for which Mitchell county took an undeserved jab), there is some truth to McHenry's point. Yeah, it's sad.

It's true that Republicans have really made earmarking a fine art of ripping off the public. But McHenry's self-serving insincere point has merit. Of course there should be transparency. And while Representataive Flake managed to point out our Pat's hypocrisy, there were dozens of earmarks (the 11th sure got it's share, more on that later) that didn't draw any attention.

And, more sadly, when Flake questioned congressman Murtha's one million dollar mystery earmark, according to the Hill, which of course only covered McHenry's side of the earmark story only two democrats voted against it:
In fact, several Democrats who regularly voted last year for amendments to strip earmarks out of bills are now voting against similar challenges.

Prior to last year’s election, two Democrats, Cooper and Rep. Melissa Bean (Ill.), voted for all 19 of Flake’s anti-earmark amendments. This year, Cooper has supported all 15 of the amendments; while Bean has supported just one of the amendments, the effort to prevent money from being spent on the Home of the Perfect Christmas Tree, a project in Rep. Patrick McHenry’s (R-N.C.) district.

Rep. Jim Matheson (D-Utah) last year supported 14 of 19 of Flake’s challenges. This year, Matheson has supported only the challenge to McHenry’s earmark.

Democratic Reps. Earl Blumenauer (Ore.), Barney Frank (Mass.) and Gene Taylor (Miss.) each supported five earmark challenges last year. This year, the same Democrats have supported only the effort against McHenry’s request.
Calls to Bean’s and Matheson’s offices were not returned.

Of course, they voted against earmarks when they were from the bloated Republican budget. Democrats traditionally do a much better budgeting job. Even though I can't say I agree with the lack of transparency, I'm not sure the Democratic earmarks are as ugly as the Republican ones. For example, the 11th district earmarks were for schools and hospitals, not roads to nowhere or in exchange for bribes.

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