BACHMANN EXPLAINS BUDGETING AS ONLY SHE CAN…. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) makes no secret of her hatred for earmarks. The head of Congress’ bizarre “Tea Party Caucus,” Bachmann’s far-right crusade has earmark elimination as a top priority.

Except, of course, for those earmarks she likes.

[W]hen it comes to her own district, she’s in favor of a little earmark “redefinition.” Because what is an earmark, after all?

“Advocating for transportation projects for one’s district in my mind does not equate to an earmark,” Bachmann told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune yesterday.

“I don’t believe that building roads and bridges and interchanges should be considered an earmark,” Bachmann continued. “There’s a big difference between funding a tea pot museum and a bridge over a vital waterway.”

I see. An earmark is bad if Bachmann thinks it sounds like an unworthy idea, and an earmark is good if Bachmann thinks it sounds like an idea with merit. Got it.

Also yesterday, Bachmann talked to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer about the budget, looking for “specific cuts” she would be willing to consider. Like most Republicans, Bachmann endorsed across-the-board cuts, returning to 2008 levels of discretionary spending (which, again, is a very bad idea).

A few seconds later, she added:

“We can do across the board cuts, but I don’t think that’s prudent because there are legitimate projects that have to be done, bridges have to be built, water treatment systems have to be built. So I think, we don’t wanna cut off our nose to spite our face. We have to be smart about this.”

So, what have we learned from the leading right-wing Republican? Earmarks are bad, unless they’re going to Bachmann’s district, and slashing spending is good, except for the “legitimate projects that have to be done.”

Dear Tea Partiers, I think your leader is having a tough time transitioning to life in the majority.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.