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Our Inane Public Discourse

This whole subject of earmarks makes me miss the good old days when Paris and Britney dominated the news. As has been pointed out time and time again, the total of all earmarks make up less than 2% of all federal spending, the vast majority of earmarks are actually good programs, and the amount of time and energy it would take to root out the “bad” earmarks simply isn’t worth the effort. But what gets glossed over in the arguments is the fact that earmarks are so ingrained in our political process that it would be impossible to do away with them. As the old saw goes, “all politics are local” and earmarks are the perfect example of this. Politicians are always going to do their best to take care of their local constituents — and that’s exactly as it should be. In fact, one of the funnier stories in the last presidential elections was the way Sarah Palin lied about opposing the infamous Alaska “bridge to nowhere”. The facts show that she supported it, and that’s exactly what she should have been doing. Regardless of what you and I might have thought about that project, it did benefit the citizens of Alaska and as Governor of Alaska it was her responsibility and obligation to support that project. So she really did the right thing — but then lied about it for political reasons. And this hypocrisy is further exemplified by the Republicans in Congress who are so adamantly opposed to earmarks while they themselves have their own earmarks inserted in legislation. These people are so pathetic they can’t even get an issue correct when they are actually correct on the issue!