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Earmark Hypocrisy At Its Best

December 15, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

Jamie Dupree has a great catch from a press conference held earlier today by Sen. John Thune [R, SD] and Sen. John Cornyn [R, TX] to bash the omnibus spending bill. Together, Thune and Cornyn (pictured) have sponsored 71 earmarks worth several hundred million dollars in the omnibus, yet they’re trying to play both sides of the coin — requesting earmarks and then prominently announcing they will vote against the bill that contains them, even though they know it’s likely to pass.

Reporters at the press conference didn’t miss the irony here, and they drilled the senators on it pretty heavy. Read the painfully awkward transcript below:

“The bill contains many earmarks that you requested,” said one reporter, starting the Q&A.

“Pardon me?” said Cornyn.

“I intend to vote against those earmarks because the American people sent a message on November 2nd,” said Texas Republican.

“Senator Thune, I was just looking at the list of earmark requests that you requested this year and it adds up to over a hundred million dollars,” said another reporter, asking the South Dakota Republican – who has been talked about as a Presidential hopeful – if he would strike those earmarks.

“I support those projects, but I don’t support this bill,” Thune answered.

Time for another question.

“Going through this bill, there is earmark after earmark from the both of you, millions of dollars in earmarks,” asked another scribe with a jab.  

“Why do you have any credibility on this?”

“Because we’re going to vote against the bill,” answered Cornyn.

“It appears like you’re saying one thing and doing another,” another reporter pressed.

“Not at all,” said Cornyn, as Thune also stepped in to defend their stance on the Omnibus.

“We’ve got to leave it there – we’ve got to get going,” a GOP aide said, trying to end the press conference and quickly get the Senators out the door.

“Were you wrong when you put these earmarks in?” asked one reporter, ignoring the staffer.

“You’re missing the story if you think it’s just about earmarks,” Cornyn protested, trying to turn the focus back to Democratic leaders bringing this huge bill to the floor with little time for review.

“Thank you guys. Thank you very much,” the same staffer quickly interjected as Cornyn finished his answer, trying again to end the news conference.

“Is that an acknowledgement that it was wrong to put the earmarks in in the first place?” a reporter asked.

“You’ve asked the question about five times and I’ve tried to answer it to the best of my ability,” said a somewhat irked Cornyn, who then zipped out the door.

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  • Abaratarrr 12/15/2010 8:32am

    Contact Nancy Pelosi today (202) 225-4965 or, more benefits for the long term unemployed is entirely up to her at this point, let her know that the 13 month extension proposed by Obama does nothing for the long term unemployed.

  • Comm_reply
    Iamamerican33 12/15/2010 11:07am

    I just sent off a letter to Nancy Pelosi, pleading for her to bring up the 99ers and a Tier V. I hope she gets it. I am sure there are so many that I will get lost in the shuffle. Still, we have to keep trying.

  • poolplayer 12/15/2010 8:34am

    Typical Republicans.Say one thing,do another,to progress themselves.You guys voted for this!!! Is this just a foreshadow of how things to come will be in a couple weeks when the GOP take over? It’s just like Limbaugh with his wanting tax cuts but not going back to Bush level tax cuts? If the government is so far in the red,what good are tax cuts to the wealthy? It’s proven that they will not spend their own money for things like job creation and education. Of course,they get to send their children to private schools so why should they care about the quality of public education? There’s only one way to end the hypocracy,get these guys out of office!!!YOU VOTED THEM IN,ONLY YOU CAN VOTE THEM OUT!!!

  • Comm_reply
    tomjw 12/15/2010 10:44am

    these guys are all out for themselves and their political careers.they will say anything to get into office but always pay back the rich interests that got them hell with their constituents, they already got the job and in 4 years they will do another spin to get elected again.that is the sick nature of politics in this country.we either need the super wealthy as political leaders or people who value honesty above all else.the greek who sought them with a lamp,would need sun in a bottle to find one in washington!

  • Comm_reply
    Mahlalie 12/15/2010 3:50pm

    “A foreshadow of how things to come will be”? Really?

  • beenblue 12/15/2010 10:12am

    Gotta love the attitude of “SO WHAT”. I had no idea the Bush attitude was a contagion. Someone should call the CDC, as we have an epidemic spreading through congress.

  • poolplayer 12/15/2010 11:54am

    Funny how I don’t see very many Republicans responding to this blog.When it came to unemployment extension,they kept on nagging about fiscal responsibility when they obviously didn’t care about that with this bill.Where are they now?Where are the comebacks about this?I really do wish the voters will remember this in 2 years!!!

  • Comm_reply
    530i 12/16/2010 7:27am

    I’m Republican, and these guys make me sick. It is people like these guys when Bush was President that crushed the life out of Republican voters and Democrats to control of everything. Under Bush-era Republican ideology, it was Democrats = fast track to socialism, and Republicans = slow track to socialism.

    The Tea Party (sentiment) was a response to these stupid, selfish, arrogant, Republicans and Democrats that are spending us into oblivion. These guys just don’t get it. I hope they get “primary’ed” out of congress at the first opportunity.

  • crohr 12/15/2010 1:12pm

    There is little for a Republican to respond to because it’s trashy politics, but here you go:

    You guys are funny. You aren’t really supporting the earmarks are you? Have you read them all? Why don’t we just make the tax cuts permanent? That way we don’t pass bills like this every two years. A little dependent upon government here? Ask not what you can do for your country but what your country can do for you? This blog illustrates the problem. Out of control spending on both sides of the isle. Yes they are hypocrites, but isn’t Obama if he actually signs the bill? Remember his campaign promise about ending earmarks? Hello pot my name is kettle. It’s so funny that the hypocrites are calling the hypocrites hypocrites … How much do we have to spend to please everyone? 8 Trillion? Maybe 10? How about 50? What if we just gave you a house? You guys are mad drunk on government money. I understand why you don’t see reason, but you are spending us into tyranny. Study history and STOP IT!!!

  • Comm_reply
    DerekBledsoe 12/15/2010 2:21pm

    They’re both hypocrites- Obama and these Republicans.

    What if we reversed that question- how many cuts are enough? Would you eliminate education? Medicare? Social Security? Military spending? Maybe the federal gov’t completely?

    We’ll agree to disagree on making the tax cuts permanent, but in relation to this article I think the point to be drawn is that the Republican platform of “fiscal conservatism and responsibility” is a load of populist horse manure. And as you rightly point out, many Democrats- Obama especially- have been equally lop-sided on spending habits.

    So the result is both sides seem to take issue with how their opponents spend but NOT how their own party spends. It’s important to find the common ground here otherwise we’re just going to continue this vicious cycle of trying to prove the other side wrong.

    Politicians love the bickering because it keeps people from focusing on the real problem- government acting in it’s own best interest instead of ours.

  • Comm_reply
    Mahlalie 12/15/2010 3:48pm

    How many cuts are enough? How about we cut every bit of spending that is not endorsed by our Constitution. President Madison, the father of the Constitution, was in favor of some educational spending, but not government run education. It’s hard to argue that Medicare and Social Security are constitutional programs. If you choose to pull out the “general welfare clause” to support those programs, consider that President Madison said that we should burn the Constitution if that clause was to be an expansion of power.

    Military spending is one of the few types of spending that is Constitutional. Federal disaster relief was declared unconstitutional by President Cleveland, and I have a hard time seeing President Madison differing on that point. After all, Madison did veto an internal improvements bill because it created a mentality that government equates to free money.

  • Comm_reply
    Mahlalie 12/15/2010 3:48pm

    I’m all for doing away with earmarks. I don’t agree with either party adding them. My proposition is that every earmark should be its own separate bill. They should all have to pass on their own merit. Also, every bill should have to have an explanation why the bill is constitutional.

  • Comm_reply
    crohr 12/15/2010 4:09pm

    Case and point. We clearly agree that this bill in it’s current form is bad for us and good for the government.

    “What if we reversed that question- how many cuts are enough? Would you eliminate education? Medicare? Social Security? Military spending? Maybe the federal gov’t completely?”

    Ergo the current spending is acceptable because the only things left to cut are Education, Medicare, Social Security & Military spending? Come on now …

  • Abaratarrr 12/15/2010 5:50pm

    get ready Washington, this is just the tip of the ice burg, people are desperate and have nothing to loose, please provide more weeks of benefits for the long term unemployed. This bill does not help the long term unemployed, Obama lied to the nation when he said that the bill extends unemployment for 13 months, the bill just extends the deadline to sign up for the current benefits, it provides no new weeks, this is why this man is dead.

    This is an interview with the wife of the 99er in Florida who’s life ended too soon. I hope that she will be OK

    Contact Nancy Pelosi today (202) 225-4965 or, more benefits for the long term unemployed is entirely up to her at this point, let her know that the 13 month extension proposed by Obama does nothing for the long term unemployed.

  • KyleAbbott 12/15/2010 6:52pm

    Can’t they reform? I can’t stand earmarks, but this is ridiculous. Let the government shut down if it means not passing this garbage. I challenge the Congress to come up with a budget that works, as in one that’s paid for. I’ve found hundreds of billions in cuts that could be made and need to be made. Earmarks are a piece of that pie. In addition, reform the tax code to promote fairness. How about a flat tax? Revenues up, employment up. Simple economics. Then we can quit worrying about indefinite unemployment insurance.

  • Comm_reply
    530i 12/16/2010 7:57am

    Agreed. A true flat-tax would be great but it will never pass. A flat-tax does not re-distribute wealth like our current tax systems does, so Dems will never allow it. We are all Socialist now.

  • Comm_reply
    Mahlalie 12/16/2010 4:16pm

    Or a fair tax.

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