Monday, August 13, 2007


Compare and contrast the following two stories.

First, the Democrats' orgy of pork-barrel spending in this Congress and their fanatical efforts to conceal it from the American public whom they promised the diametric opposite:

Despite promises by Congress to end the secrecy of earmarks and other pet projects, the House of Representatives has quietly funneled hundreds of millions of dollars to specific hospitals and health care providers under a bill passed this month to help low-income children.

Instead of naming the hospitals, the bill describes them in cryptic terms, so that identifying a beneficiary is like solving a riddle. Most of the provisions were added to the bill at the request of Democratic lawmakers.

One hospital, Bay Area Medical Center, sits on Green Bay, straddling the border between Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, more than two hundred miles north of Chicago. The bill would increase Medicare payments to the hospital by instructing federal officials to assume that it was in Chicago, where Medicare rates are set to cover substantially higher wages for hospital workers.

Lawmakers did not identify the hospital by name. For the purpose of Medicare, the bill said, “any hospital that is co-located in Marinette, WI, and Menominee, MI, is deemed to be located in Chicago.” Bay Area Medical Center is the only hospital fitting that description.

The primary purpose of the bill is to expand the Children’s Health Insurance Program while enhancing benefits for older people in traditional Medicare. But a review of the bill by the New York Times found that it would also direct millions of dollars a year to about forty favored hospitals, by increasing their Medicare payments.
SOP for the Party of Big Government, right? You'd have thought the voters would have remembered that about them and kept them out of power last November, right? Don't get me started again.

But you would at least think that minority Republicans, even if most of them have no philosophical objections to earmarking, would at least recognize the partisan political opportunity that this brazen Donk fiscal hypocrisy presents them with. After all, the Democrats did, played up the resulting "culture of corruption" meme to the stomach-turning hilt, and it helped them take Congress back.

You would think that - but if you did, you'd be wrong again:

With the midnight hour approaching on Saturday, August 4, near the end of a marathon session, Democratic and Republican leaders alike wanted to pass the defense appropriations bill quickly and start their summer recess. But Republican Rep. Jeff Flake’s stubborn adherence to principle forced an hour-long delay that revealed unpleasant realities about Congress. …

Republicans split so that motions by Flake and Campbell lost overwhelmingly. House Minority Leader John Boehner voted against most earmarks but did not make it a party issue as the rest of the GOP leadership backed Murtha. Two former Republican chairmen of the Appropriations Committee — Jerry Lewis of California and Bill Young of Florida — eagerly joined the debate on Murtha’s side. Lewis, one of the House members under investigation by the Justice Department, defended one of his own earmarks and treated Flake with sneering contempt for wasting the House’s time.
To all those tighty-righties who claimed that cashiering the Republican majority last November would "teach them a lesson," how would you like your crow prepared? Now, instead of being bulldozed into becoming born-again fiscal crusaders, the "corruption" is exponentially worse, those responsible are completely escaping responsibility for it, and a lot of our people are kissing "Haw-Haw" Murtha's fat ass. It's not as if I didn't tell you this would be the result - long, loudly, and repeatedly.

And it appears that the handful of "pork-busters" in the GOP's depopulated caucus haven't learned the concommitant PR lesson, either:

Flake lacked the time he needed on the House floor to explain complicated interlocking relationships with contributors who benefit from Murtha’s earmarks. Claims of transparency are meaningless when all earmarks survive amid inattention from the media. But a few Republican House members are frustrated by GOP complicity as the House of Representatives fast becomes the House of Corruption. Joined by a few like-minded senators, they contemplate publicly repudiating their party leaders.
If anything can square the circle on Democrat attempts to hide their runaway fiscal gluttony, it's the lonely remnant of genuine fiscal conservatives directing public political fire NOT at the Democrats who are running this swine brothel but at their own party for being too weak to resist the temptation.

I fully understand their frustration - c'mon, our guys defending Jack f'ing Murtha, the crooked old bastard that deserves to be the star of the next blockbuster al Qaeda video? - but what they have to understand is that the cause of fiscal integrity will not be advanced by intra-Republican cannibalism. Calling a presser to tell Boehner and Roy Blunt to piss off will be a pork-buster kamikaze run, which will infuriate the right-wing base even more, and, well, you can see that this is the path to a ruinous GOP civil war that will conflagrate everything Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan and Newt Gingrich spent two generations constructing, cantcha?

Can't you? Can't they?

Betcha the Democrats can. And that they have their taxpayer-funded marshmallows and weenies all ready to roast over the flames.