President Bush has gone out of his way to rally the American people behind inflated or imagined problems. Al Qaeda, Osama Bin Laden, death tax, without tax cuts the economic will sputter, do you remember those oldies but goodies? Well, earmarks are the latest boogie man. Are earmarks bad? Yep. Are they worse than spending billions in Iraq? Doubt it. Are they worse than leaving New Orleans in the lurch? Nope.
I don’t believe that the President has any real intention of stomping out all earmarks. Instead, he is trying to get the public whipped up about something that he can pin on the Democrats (see Hoyer’s quote below).
OH, BTW, Bush signed an executive order to ignore earmarks that aren’t explicitly enacted into law. There is nothing like a democracy by executive order.
Update: Senator Bob Casey takes issue with Bush and his signing statements.
Bush warned he would veto any spending bill that does not cut in half the number and cost of earmarks from the year before. He also said he will sign an executive order requiring agencies to ignore any earmark not included in the language of legislation. “The people’s trust in their government is undermined by congressional earmarks,” Bush said.
Bush’s pledge was met with skepticism from many Democrats and even some in the GOP, who noted that the practice increased dramatically while Republicans controlled Congress. “The number of earmarks exploded under Republican leadership in the House, and for six years President Bush did nothing to slow their growth,” said House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.). (more…)