BRINGING HOME THE BACON, PART II…. John McCain has hailed Sarah Palin as a governor who has “stopped government from wasting taxpayers’ money.” Bob Novak insisted today that Palin “shares McCain’s loathing for earmarks.”
Recent evidence suggests these claims are completely backwards.
Last week, we learned that Palin supported the infamous “bridge to nowhere,” and kept the money allotted for it after the deal fell through. Yesterday, we learned that Palin hired DC lobbyists to help direct nearly $27 million in pork projects to the town of Wasilla. And today we learn that McCain has actually condemned some of the very earmarks his running mate and her lobbyists secured.
For much of his long career in Washington, John McCain has been throwing darts at the special spending system known as earmarking, through which powerful members of Congress can deliver federal cash for pet projects back home with little or no public scrutiny. He’s even gone so far as to publish “pork lists” detailing these financial favors.
Three times in recent years, McCain’s catalogs of “objectionable” spending have included earmarks for this small Alaska town, requested by its mayor at the time — Sarah Palin. […]
In 2001, McCain’s list of spending that had been approved without the normal budget scrutiny included a $500,000 earmark for a public transportation project in Wasilla. The Arizona senator targeted $1 million in a 2002 spending bill for an emergency communications center in town — one that local law enforcement has said is redundant and creates confusion.
Asked for an explanation, a McCain campaign spokesperson said “towns like Wasilla in Alaska depended on earmarks to take care of basic needs,” and added that Palin became “disgusted” with earmarks “as her career has progressed.”
Is anyone buying this? First, Wasilla didn’t “depend on earmarks” before Palin became mayor; the town didn’t benefit from pork until Palin hired lobbyists to go get some pork for her. Second, if Palin became so “disgusted” with earmarks, why does she still accept pork projects as governor? And why did she run for governor promising to support the “bridge to nowhere”?
And as is always the case, it comes back to McCain’s judgment. Did he know about any of this? Does he consider Palin’s lobbying for earmarks an example of the kind of “reform” he wants to bring to the White House?