The Corner

Grizzly Pork

On the Washington Post’s front page this morning is the headline “McCain Sees Pork Where Scientists See Success,” above a story about how that earmark-funded program to count bears that John McCain always makes fun of, actually…counted bears, at a cost of $5 million to taxpayers.

The reporter seems to think this somehow demolishes McCain’s case against the funding. After all, the story informs us, the scientist in charge of the program is really neat, and once faced down a grizzly bear and lived to tell about it. “It’s pretty cool that we pulled it off,” that scientist says of the project. “Nobody got seriously hurt. We collected a ton of bear hair. We stayed on budget.” And if you’re so tight-fisted as not to be persuaded by that, well then how about the fact that Sterling Miller, “a bear researcher working for the National Wildlife Federation,” told the Post that the program “was extremely well executed and well worth the money.” That’s got to clinch it.

Obviously the people who receive earmark funding for their pet-projects think the money was well spent. Does this really merit a front-page story in the Washington Post? And if so, maybe the story would benefit from a quote from someone — anyone at all — who thinks otherwise?

Yuval Levin — Yuval Levin is the editor of National Affairs and a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

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