Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Small Victory

Oh my. It just shows you what a little moral persuasion can do.
In a swift victory for tea-party activists, the Senate's top Republican agreed Monday to a plan to ban GOP members from proposing earmarks for spending bills, suggesting that what was once a core part of legislating has now become politically unacceptable.
. . .
Mr. McConnell was a leading defender until Monday, creating tensions within the party and in particular with Sen. Jim DeMint (R., S.C.), a big figure in the tea party. But in his first speech on the Senate floor since the election, Mr. McConnell capitulated.

Now this is in fact a small, but symbolic victory. I have always felt that earmarks were "the gateway drug" to Congressional wasteful spending. This is only a rule that governs Senate Republicans, but it gives them a moral advantage over the Democrats in the Senate. Further, it shows that the Republican establishment can be made to listen. Until Monday, McConnell had been opposed to ending earmarks, but he realized that in these times, it was important to listen to the voters. More from McConnell in the WSJ article:
" . . . But there is simply no doubt that the abuse of this practice has caused Americans to view it as a symbol of the waste and the out-of-control spending that every Republican in Washington is determined to fight."

Analysis from the author of the article Naftali Bendavid:
Mr. McConnell's move was in part an attempt to shift the focus from divisions among Republicans on a contentious issue to distinctions between Democrats and the GOP. House Republicans also ban earmarks, but Senate Democrats have no earmark ban, and House Democrats have a limited one.

It is a sad commentary that shutting down the kind of spending depicted below, which quickly works it's way into the billions, will only be a drop in the bucket of necessary cuts.

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