Credit where it’s due: the New York Times today did a superb job of holding Harry Reid accountable for his obstruction of earmarking transparency reform. The Porkbusters and even liberal blogs like TPMMuckraker also did great work on this story, but Reid knows that a Democratic Senate Majority Leader can’t lose the New York Times this early into his tenure. An excerpt:
After campaigning for months on a promise to tighten ethics rules, Senate Democratic leaders tried unsuccessfully Thursday to block a measure that would shine a light on the shadowy practice of earmarking federal money for lawmakers’ pet projects.
Last week the House Democrats passed an unexpectedly broad change to their chamber’s rules that would disclose the size, purpose and sponsor of any earmark.
But on Thursday, when Senator Jim DeMint, Republican of South Carolina, introduced the same thing in the Senate, Democratic leaders moved quickly to squash it, calling the House bill ill thought out.
Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic leader, said he was happy to see the House “moving things along very quickly.” But, Mr. Reid said, “frankly, I don’t think they spent the time on this that we have.”
The Democratic leaders’ effort to block the DeMint proposal was defeated by a vote of 51 to 46, surprising almost everyone in the Senate. The outcome reflected the keen desire of many lawmakers to appear to be on the side of openness and reform after an election that turned in part on Congressional corruption scandals.
Reid’s criticism of Pelosi is fairly surprising, coming this soon after the two took power. The media pressure (MSM and blogosphere) paid off. Aside from a few face-saving compromises, it now looks like Reid has backed down. (h/t Instapundit)