The Washington Post Becomes Conservative

In what has to be the most cynical and dishonest editorial I’ve ever read in their paper, the editors of the Washington Post offer this gem:

Big-Government Conservatives


Back in 1987, when Mr. Reagan applied his veto to what was generally known at the time as the highway and mass transit bill, he was offended by the 152 earmarks for pet projects favored by members of Congress. But on Wednesday Mr. Bush signed a transportation bill containing no fewer than 6,371 earmarks. Each one of these, as Mr. Reagan understood but Mr. Bush apparently doesn’t, amounts to a conscious decision to waste taxpayers’ dollars. One point of an earmark is to direct money to a project that would not receive money as a result of rational judgments based on cost-benefit analyses.

Mr. Bush, who had threatened to veto wasteful spending bills, chose instead to cave in. He did so despite the fact that in addition to a record number of earmarks the transportation bill came with a price tag that he had once called unacceptable.

Yet it seems to me that George Delano Bush, when defending this disgusting bill as a source of job creation, was doing the ideological bidding of the Democrats who comprise the Washington Post’s editorial staff. For them to pretend to denounce wasteful government spending — Democrats’ bread-and-butter — is totally disingenuous.

The editorial continues:

The nation is at war. It faces large expenses for homeland security. It is about to go through a demographic transition that will strain important entitlement programs. How can this president — an allegedly conservative president — believe that the federal government should spend money on the Red River National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center in Louisiana? Or on the Henry Ford Museum in Michigan? The bill Mr. Bush has signed devotes more than $24 billion to such earmarked projects, continuing a trend in which the use of earmarks has spread steadily each year. Remember, Republicans control the Senate and the House as well as the White House. So somebody remind us: Which is the party of big government?

The answer is that they both are, and I give Democrats credit for at least being honest about their affinity for government waste. But again, the Post should be praising Bush here, for engaging in the type of fiscal irresponsibility Democrats have always embraced.

Further, after almost five years of deriding of the President and his administration for their rhetoric, to suddenly acknowledge that the nation is at war seems much more convenient than honest.

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Leopold Stotch
About Leopold Stotch
“Dr. Leopold Stotch” was the pseudonym of political science professor then at a major research university inside the beltway. He has a PhD in International Relations. He contributed 165 pieces to OTB between November 2004 and February 2006.


  1. bryan says:

    One point of an earmark is to direct money to a project that would not receive money as a result of rational judgments based on cost-benefit analyses.

    Is this true? Is this the *only* reason for an earmark? Does the government *ever* do *anything* as a result of “rational judgments based on cost-benefit analyses”? Could someone please enlighten me with one such example?

    Is that sort of like accepting the low bid?

  2. SoloD says:

    In fact the GOP’s irresponsibility is much worse, because they pretend that you don’t have to pay for it. Sure you can have tax cuts and all the spending we can push out, and run a war to boot.

    Democrats would call for some sacrifice, or at least not offer up a tax cut.

  3. Terry Ott says:

    I don’t see any problem with this editorial. There are gradations of wasteful spending, among them:
    (1) Inefficiency: Spending money unwisely on things most would agree we need to do; the money doesn’t get the job done.
    (2) Overkill: Spending more money than is necessary to get the desired result; the money gets the job done but the same job could have been done for less.
    (3) Frivolousness: Spending OPM (other peoples’ money) for things we don’t really need at all, for whatever reason(s).

    Of these, I consider #3 to be the worst transgression. #1 can be done with good intentions and amount to an honest mistake. #2 can be done because one is overzealous and/or lacks common sense.
    #3 is inevitably an intentional ripoff of the taxpayers, and should not be condoned under any circumstances. This is truly abuse.

    That politicians get away with it, professing themselves “patriotic” while weakening the economic well-being of the general public, and while proposing at the same time that they should not be subject to various rules and controls the rest of us live with (airline screening proposal, labor laws, etc), is sickening.

  4. Lt bell says:

    you make Goebbles look like a child

    did you work for hitler in a past life?