Few would argue that Sen. Jim DeMint is one of the Senate’s top reformers when it comes to pork-barrel spending. But even DeMint only recently kicked the habit.
It was less than two years ago that the South Carolina Republican swore off earmarks after the GOP’s drubbing in November 2006. DeMint now calls himself a “recovering earmarker” who equates pork-barrel spending to a disease.
My point is that very few politicians — John McCain being a notable exception — are totally pure on the issue of earmarking.
Like DeMint, Sarah Palin saw the destructiveness of earmarks and vowed to do something about it. As Alaska’s governor, she ordered state officials to cut back on their requests for federal earmarks. In a state like pork-loving Alaska, that’s political courage.
Yet that hasn’t stopped some liberal journalists from accusing her of hypocrisy for earmark requests she made as mayor of Wasilla six years ago. Case in point: Paul Kane’s front-page Washington Post hit piece suggesting she’s not the reformer we think she is.
Kane’s attempt to paint Palin as a hypocrite is shameful. He devotes only two sentences to Barack Obama and Joe Biden, who actually voted to fund the Bridge to Nowhere that Palin eventually nixed. In his first three years, Obama requested nearly $1 billion in earmarks — that’s more than 34 times the number of earmarks Palin secured for Wasilla. Obama also sought $3.4 million in earmarks for clients of Biden’s lobbyist son. Basically, Obama showed no restraint up until this year. Biden never has. He requested $119 million in earmarks last year alone, according to Citizens Against Government Waste.
Contrast that McCain and Palin. No politician in America is more identified with earmark reform than McCain. Not only has he pledged to veto legislation with earmarks, he has also made it a central issue to his campaign. Palin, meanwhile, took on the notorious pork-loving state Republican Party. She ended the Bridge to Nowhere and instructed her administration to reduce earmarks and cut wasteful spending.
While Obama talks a good game about transparency, Palin has the record of a reformer who wants to cut pork-barrel spending.
“Sarah Palin has fought the status quo on wasteful earmarks more than any other governor in America,” DeMint said. “Her leadership is rare and she’s done it against all odds, and she’s actually cut spending while Obama and Biden have only talked about it.”
In fact, she might be the only governor in America who has said no to earmarks, voiced the need for reform and challenged her own party on the issue.
Despite the liberal media narrative, is there really any doubt which ticket is more committed to ending earmarks?