Jon, it's true that pork-barrel spending gets blown out of proportion--although earmarks still bother me, in part because they're a particularly easy way to reward contributors. But that said, politicians know damn well that it gets blown out of proportion. And I can't for the life of me understand why Congress can't suck it up and kick the habit for a while, simply in the name of rebuilding the public's near-zilch confidence in their institution. Democrats in particular, who campaigned in 2006 with much talk of cracking down on earmarking, should appreciate how vulnerable they will be to the charge of hypocrisy in 2010.

Moreover, this is pretty cheesy:

“Since we’ve been a country we have had the obligation as a Congress to direct spending,” [Harry] Reid harrumphed last week, defending a new spending bill that is bursting with congressional earmarks. “We can not let spending be done by a bunch of nameless, faceless bureaucrats buried in this town someplace.”

So now in the name of earmarks Harry Reid is talking like the most cliched anti-government demagogue? Please.

--Michael Crowley