Friday, March 21, 2008

No word on how many tears were shed in the writing of the op-ed...

John "Tears for Fears" Boehner took to the pages of the Washington Cageliner Times today to whine about earmarks. You remember that they only became an issue for the hypocrites in the GOP when the Democrats took back the majority in both chambers and lame-ducked the current occupant. Suddenly, it was a big damned deal that there was any such thing - even though there was not a peep of protest between January 2001 and December 2007 when the Republicans were in the majority.

The conservative watchdog group Citizens Against Government Waste found that during those years of Republican majority, the Congress attached and Bush signed into law a total of 52,319 earmarks at a cost of $121.8 billion. In 2007, earmarks were $9 billion, down nearly $11 billion from the average of $20.3 billion during the first six years of the Bush free-for-all.

Now, lets get realistic...earmarks are the least of our worries. They comprise about 0.2% of the overall budget, and would comprise far less if the war spending was included.

The purpose of Boehner's screed, of course, is to fluff the GOP's nominee - who does have a verifiable track record of opposing these spending measures, and good on him for it - but he isn't all that and a bag of chips in that arena either - he kinda cherry-picks projects for dramatic effect. In November he started running an ad shining a light on his anti-pork cred, but it doesn't quite pass the smell test. Here is what said about it:
  • He never specifically went after the "bridge to nowhere," and he was absent for key votes on its funding.
  • While he tried to cut money for several other projects in the same bill, he never proposed cutting the bear study and voted for the final bill containing it.
  • He wasn't present for the most important votes on the Woodstock museum, including one on an amendment he co-sponsored to kill the earmark and divert some of the funds.
The three projects that are singled out in the McCain ad amounted to less than $300 million dollars - a mere drop in the earmarks bucket, and seam to be singled out for impact and emotional appeal rather than for any direct impact McCain might have had in opposing them. In short - he overstated his case and mislead the viewers. But IOKIYAR, huh?

It is almost laughable - and definitely mockable - when the a schmoe like Boehner gets religion after the fact on an issue like this. And what possesses these morons to think that their assertions will go unchallenged? Or is it just a way to get their spin out there for a narrow and narrow-minded audience that would never even think about fact-checking or looking for context? And please - don't answer that - I'm fragile today and can't take any more bad news/reality about the intellectual state of my fellow countrymen.

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