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November 25, 2006
Why I Oppose Pork - And Why You Should Care

This morning, as I prepared for the annual Battle Between Good And Evil (also known as the Notre Dame - USC game), I received an e-mail from a Minnesota reader, Frank S, who scolded me for my insistence on fighting pork. He writes that American voters are a lost cause to the addiction:

So, let me get this straight. Independent mush-minded robots, who voted for "change" by putting bigger spending, bigger govt., bigger porker, surrender monkey Democrats into power can be won over to us Republicans by promising smaller govt., less spending, less pork, and promises of victory? We are a nation of fat, slobbering cowards, standing on the shoulders of great men, all the while making a mockery of our former glory. Most Americans, including the independents you find yourself bootlicking, determined that this war is just taking to damn long to finish. And anyway, CNN says that US troops are committing war crimes on a daily basis, and why shouldn't we trust good old CNN? Did it ever occur to you, Captain, that maybe we don't deserve to survive as a nation any longer?

PS...Stop ranting about pork. Voters LOVE pork! Robert C. Byrd, Ted Kennedy, and yes, your buddy from Mississippi, will NEVER face a serious challenge for their job, thanks in large part because all three of these men know how to "...bring home the bacon.".

Well, they'll never face a serious challenge until people start organizing to challenge them, and that's the political reality we face. Simply standing on the sidelines complaining about pork but doing nothing to stop it because it's supposedly a lost cause becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Are Americans in love with pork? I find that hypothesis doubtful. Representative Jeff Flake of Arizona, who has crusaded against pork in Congress, ran on an explicitly anti-pork platform in Arizona for his re-election campaign. He promised to keep pork from flowing into his district -- and he won re-election by a margin of 74%-26%, outpolling his challenger by 71,000 votes out of 147,000.

Why did Flake win? Voters in his district understand that pork and earmarks are the gateway drug to corruption. Every major corruption scandal has revolved around earmarking federal funds for grants and contracts to specific entities, who have returned the favor by showering the politicians with favors, gifts, and cash -- plenty of cash. Bribery does not work as easily on the macro level in Congress, because it takes so many votes to get a bill passed. Instead, corrupting influences focus on gaining federal money through amendments and earmarks because those are routinely carried as a professional courtesy into the final version of the legislation.

If one cares about clean government, then one has to oppose pork and the earmarking process. At the very least, the process should be stripped of its anonymity and exposed to the taxpayers who foot the bill. If we can stop earmarks, then we can limit the damage possible from corrupt politicians. We need to promote more Jeff Flakes for office, and fewer Robert Byrds, Trent Lotts, and Ted Kennedys.

Before we can end pork, we have to find candidates who will oppose it -- and that takes effort, time, and hope. I have all of those in differing measures at differing times. I do not think this nation is a lost cause now, nor I will never believe it ever. We get the government we deserve because we are a free people, and a free people can choose to end corruption if they want it badly enough. I do. and I will continue to fight pork whenever and wherever I can ... and if you want to do more than gripe about corruption and influence peddling, then you should join me and the other Porkbusters as well.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at November 25, 2006 8:21 AM

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» Missing the Biggest Pork of All from Thoughts by Seawitch
Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit and NZ Bear of Truthlaid Bear have created a government watch dog called Porkbusters. Its laudable that they are citizens who are concerned about government waste and seek to insure that our tax money is spent wisely. ... [Read More]

Tracked on November 27, 2006 7:50 AM

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