More of the Agony of Being Jack Kingston

I’ve had occasional fun here at the expense of U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA), a standard-brand conservative Republican career pol who’s having trouble keeping up with the new style of savage conservatism being exhibited by his primary rivals for a U.S. Senate nomination. Recently Kingston tried to engage in a little demagoguery over school lunch subsidies, naturally opening himself to disclosure of the “free lunches” he’s had as a product of his long tenure in the House.

But yesterday Kingston had to do something I’m sure he found especially distasteful: voting against the $1.1 trillion omnibus appropriations bill put together by House and Senate appropriators like his own self.

I mean, you could have called this bill the Appropriators Emancipation Act, designed as it was to implement a budget deal that removed a big part of the constraints of sequestration. And appropriators took advantage of it to regain their ability to nestle pet projects into the budget. Apparently Kingston did, too, per this report from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution‘s Jim Galloway earlier this week:

A $1.1 trillion spending package hurtling through Congress gives an important boost to the Port of Savannah expansion project, likely speeding up its long-awaited groundbreaking.

Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Savannah, worked to insert language in the bill classifying the Savannah deepening from 42 feet to 47 feet as an “ongoing construction project.” The language would allow work to begin sooner and give a nudge to the Obama administration to start ponying up more money, the veteran appropriator told us this afternoon.

These are the moments that every appropriator lives for. Yet Kingston dutifully voted against the bill he helped craft, following the lead of his primary opponents Paul Broun and Phil Gingrey.

I suspect on primary day Kingston will discover that living a lie isn’t an effective campaign strategy, and that he can’t bring home the bacon and then pretend he’s keeping kosher.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.