It’s interesting that this fight about earmarks has erupted to the surface of this campaign. The major reason this issue has become such a major aspect of the race is because of McCain’s staunch opposition to any and all earmarks, regardless of what they’d fund.
State government officials solicit earmarks all the time. Sometimes the earmarks can be reasonably justified and some times not. To his credit, John McCain has a very solid record of opposing wasteful and unnecessary spending. But while he’s made this issue a priority, it seems he’s created a problem for himself by adding Gov. Palin to the ticket. The problem is that Palin, as mayor, and now governor has sought federal funds quite often. She’s even bragged about the Alaskan congressional delegation for being so successful at racking up a sizable amount of money from Congress. To be clear, I have no problem with a state official responsibly seeking federal dollars in order to make the lives of those in their state better. The problem here is that McCain does and he’s made it widely know that this is an issue he wants front and center. I don’t begrudge Palin for seeking these funds. I begrudge her for pretending that she is, all of the sudden, a trooper on patrol to eliminate all “wasteful spending” and “pork-barrel projects” that all those greedy state governments leaders are trying selfishly to get their hands on. It’s simply disingenuous given her record in Alaska.
While the media and the Obama campaign have begun to point out this very obvious contradiction, now the McCain campaign are criticizing Obama for his record in seeking federal funds while serving in the Illinois state legislature, as if any kind of earmark is inherently an evil deed.
Earmarks are good but only in moderation. Let’s not demonize Palin or Obama for seeking them out. Instead, let’s require some honesty about their record.