The Campaign Spot

Obama Reaches His Expiration Date on Earmark Rhetoric

Obama, on the campaign trail, back in June 2007:

Instead of allowing lobbyists to slip big corporate tax breaks into bills during the dead of night, we will make sure every single tax break and earmark is available to every American online. This builds on the “Google for Government” law I passed in Congress, which already allows you to see every contract, every grant, every dime of federal spending online.
It’s time to renew a people’s politics in this country — to ensure that the hopes and concerns of average Americans speak louder in Washington than the hallway whispers of high-priced lobbyists.

Or back in March 2008:

“We can no longer accept a process that doles out earmarks based on a member of Congress’ seniority, rather than the merit of the project.”

Or, you know, maybe we can accept that process, at least for a little while longer. Today:

Obama administration officials Sunday announced that despite expressed “concerns” with the billions in earmarks contained in the $410 billion omnibus spending bill — and campaign pledges to “slash earmarks by more than half” — the President would sign the bill.

Taxpayers for Common Sense says the bill contains 8,570 earmarks at a cost of $7.7 billion. An estimated 60% of the earmarks are from Democrats, while Republicans requested the remaining 40%.

Of course, when you look back at the rare times Obama mentioned earmarks in his campaign speeches, you recognize that he never came out and said that they were a bad thing; he only lamented that they were done in secrecy. As long as they’re posted on the Internet, his objections dissipate . . .

I’m kinda in awe of Obama’s supporters, who continue to believe in the guy, even as it becomes increasingly clear that everything he says comes with an expiration date, which usually is “the day this promise becomes politically inconvenient.”

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