Chutzpah, Thy Name is GOP

I just got a message from House Majority Leader John Boehner* on the subject of fiscal responsibility.

While House Republicans are working to spend taxpayer dollars wisely by bringing greater transparency, disclosure, and accountability to government, Capitol Hill Democrats are advocating more spending with the use of earmarks – line-items sometimes inserted into bills at the last minute, with little or no scrutiny.

Granted that Boehner himself has at least paid lip service to massive earmark reforn (although without backing it up since assuming the Majority Leader’s mantle in February) the Republicans are hardly in a position to chide the Democrats for rampant spending and dubious relationships with lobbyists at the moment.

According to the Arlington Sun-Gazette, Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) recently told a group of supporters: If Democrats win back control of the U.S. House of Representatives in November, U.S. Rep. Jim Moran said he would use his position in the majority to help funnel more funds to his Northern Virginia district. “When I become chairman [of a House appropriations subcommittee], I’m going to earmark the (expletive) out of it,” Moran buoyantly told a crowd of 450 attending the event.

As opposed to the parsimonous, apolitical approach to spending taken by the Republican majority over the last eleven years?

You’ve got to admire the man’s audacity, if nothing else.

*It somehow eluded my spam filters.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Looking at the pork buster reports on votes, you find bipartisan support for pork. But, from the votes I have analyzed, republicans tend to vote in greater percentages than their majority in congress against pork and democrats vote in higher percentages than their minority for pork. In an ideal world, each party would take care of its porkers in the primaries, so you wouldn’t have to make the choice between two goods (e.g. no pork, win the war on terror).

    I have no doubt that you could find a republican acting as clueless as Moran. But democrats seemed determined to remind voters that voting for them is not the solution to stopping pork.

  2. James Joyner says:

    yaj: I haven’t analyzed the numbers, other than to note that pork spending countinues to rise.

    Moran was talking to his constituents. Locals WANT their Congressmen to bring home money. Pork is spending IN OTHER DISTRICTS.

  3. James,

    >>Locals WANT their Congressmen to bring home money. Pork is spending IN OTHER DISTRICTS.

    I am afraid you’re right, and that’s precisely why PorkBusters or any other similar movement won’t succeed unless people change their idea of what they want, or think they are entitled to, from government. The war on pork barrel spending has been going on for more than 20 years now —- does anyone remember the Grace Commission and Citizens Against Government Waste ? They are, I think, still around and still issue reports, but the problem continues.

  4. Mark says:

    Do you think Dems should unilaterally disarm?

    Personally, I don’t. I would prefer that they work the system as it is, while trying to improve the rules.

  5. McGehee says:

    Do you think Dems should unilaterally disarm?

    In the battle of wits, they already have.