Like a drunk who swears off booze, the leadership of the Republican Party has sworn off earmarks, at least for the next two years. All we can do is to encourage them as we would a lush, with the understanding that they may fall off the wagon at any time. Most drunks do.
Earmarks create the worst type of corruption.
They are corrosive to our Constitutional form of government because they go beyond the mandate of the Constitution and certainly the intent of the framers of the Constitution. As discussed previously, the idea of the federal government having the authority to spend money for matters other than national defense, the maintenance of the judicial system and other items specifically enumerated in the Constitution, is simply wrong. The liberals’ argument that the federal government has the power to do so hangs by a very slender, in fact, non-existent thread. Their flimsy claim that the government has the power to spend money outside of the enumerated responsibilities in the Constitution is based on the general welfare clause which is not even in the Constitution (only in the Preamble as a statement of general objectives) and on the so-called “necessary and proper” clause found in Article I, Section 8 which specifically limits itself to the enumerated powers.
Every earmark degrades the Constitution. It turns a representative or senator into a bag man for his district or state. It’s a con game. First I tax you to the hilt, and then I spend a small amount of money in the district or in the state (building monuments or on some other boondoggle) so that you will be beholden to me and will re-elect me. Congressmen and senators have been buying votes with our money. It’s a pretty slick scheme, but it’s wrong. It is unconstitutional and the sort of thing that our Founders feared would transpire. That’s why they did not give the federal government the power to spend money in that fashion. And voters, like drug addicts, cheer on and re-elect men and women who give them back a small pittance of what they take from them to keep the con going.
Earmarks and pork in general, change your senator or representative from being your public servant, into being your master. When a man or woman thinks of public service as a career, they have drunk deeply of the Kool-Aid. They begin to think they are smarter and wiser and nobler than you and me. They think of themselves as our keepers, our betters. They have gone from being our public servant into being our master.
But there’s another way earmarks corrupt. It’s not the total cost of earmarks that is the problem. It’s their use as a bribe to pass bad legislation like Obamacare that is really frightening. You either have to laugh or cry when you see a senator hold out for a $100 million+ bribe as did Ben Nelson in Nebraska and Mary Landrieu in Louisiana. We send people to jail for a lot, lot worse. Guys that pay off a city councilman to get a beer license at least spend their own money. Nelson and Landrieu and their cohorts took bribes that you and I paid for.
The Republican Party became the worst abuser of earmarks in the history of the United States. They’d do it again today if they thought they could get by with it. United States Senator Jim DeMint calls himself a “Recovering Earmarker.” It’s a good description. Another corrupting factor of earmarks is that they give undo power to the leadership of the party (Republican or Democrat) to control how your representative or senator votes. If he or she don’t play ball and vote the way the leadership wants, their earmark doesn’t get included. It is bribery.
Jim DeMint hasn’t fallen off the no-earmark wagon and now he has reinforcements. Why does he have support? The answer is that he broke with the leadership and actively raised funds through his Senate Conservatives Fund (www.senateconservatives.com) to defeat liberal Republicans like Charlie Crist and Bob Bennett, career politicians who had the backing of the GOP establishment. We don’t need any more Republicans that vote and act like Democrats.
Now we need leadership in the US House of Representatives from someone like Michele Bachmann to do the same thing there. It is almost as urgent to clean out the GOP as it is to defeat Barack Obama in 2012. I said almost. If the Republicans continue to act and vote like Democrats, they are finished.
This is not time to celebrate our 2010 victory. We need to start working and helping now to defeat all RINOs and Barack Obama in 2012. Only if we do that will the GOP regain the support and respect that it deserves. In 2010 we gave the Republican Party one more chance to act in concert with the United States Constitution. They will win in 2012 only if they are faithful to that responsibility.
How do I know? I read it in the tea leaves.