The President Likes Pork
President Bush is making a heroic stand against pork. That's a major reason he claims he will be vetoing the Iraq spending bill once it reaches his desk.
Of course, he hasn't vetoed prior Defense Appropriations bills because they contained unrelated earmarks. For example, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense,
In 2005, earmarked funding is going to projects as diverse as entirely stainless steel bathrooms ($4 million), airbags for aircraft ($2 million) and leak proof transmission drip pans ($3 million). Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) requested $4.3 million for a program that the Pentagon did not request funds for: the SmarTruck, a souped-up Ford F-350 for use in combat. The Defense budget also includes $3.75 million for alcoholism research at the Gallo center in San Francisco. Senator Kit Bond (R-MO) earmarked $110 million for two F-15's that the Pentagon didn't request. There is a $1 million earmark for the eradication of brown tree snakes in Guam (Senator Inouye, from Hawaii, is concerned they will spread), and $1.9 million for the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Celebration. Other nuggets include $1.5 million for a virtual reality spray paint simulator system in Pine City, Minnesota; $4.3 million for vocational education of Alaskan miners; and $1 million for a biathlon trail upgrade at Fort Richardson, Alaska.There were 2966 earmarks in last year's defense budget (Nieman Watchdog). But he happily and proudly signed those bills. See? (Okay, so he didn't look so happy about it ... but he was concentrating on his spelling.)
All told, earmarks accounted for more than three percent of the bill's total $391 billion appropriation.
And let's not forget the amazing pile of pig parts that have been falling all across America (and the U.S. Territories) in the name of Homeland Security.
There is nothing new about what this Congress is doing. It's still as wrong and wasteful as it ever has been. And bless the President for his new found dislike of pork and for bringing attention to the problem. But he's ridiculous for pretending that pork has any influence at all on his position now. It's just a way for him to tap into populist sentiments to gain some sort of support for rejecting any kind of Congressional oversight of anything he does, ever.
So which populist sentiment will win, the anti-pork or the pro-oversight?