Earmark Fight Puts Bush's Legacy on the Line

Cancel Lawmakers' Pork Projects With Executive Order

By Bluey Posted in | | | | | Comments (2) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »

RedState's Moe Lane yesterday called readers' attention to the growing concerns among fiscal conservatives that President Bush might bow to pressure from Capitol Hill appropriators and back away from a fight over earmarks. I echo the fears expressed by Moe, Captain Ed and other conservatives; the time is critical for Bush to issue an executive order canceling earmarks.

The president's tough talk about pork-barrel spending in the wake of the mammoth omnibus was a great boost for fiscal conservatives, but it also angered many earmark-loving lawmakers on Capitol Hill, including several Republicans. They would prefer Bush send Congress a rescission package, which would amount to a complete capitulation to Washington's big spenders.

Republicans can no longer just talk a good game of fiscal restraint; it's time to back it up with action. Take the Senate's top Republican, Mitch McConnell, who was among the first to boast about the earmarks he secured for Kentucky. His rhetoric about "protecting their wallets and spending their money wisely" was ridiculed by Louisville columnist David Hawpe, who saw through McConnell's doublespeak. Bush can expect the same kind of treatment if his words turn out to be hollow.

With so much media attention on the 2008 race, it would be easy for the president to back away from a confrontation. But to do so would cement his legacy as a big-government conservative. Instead, Bush has the opportunity to make a lasting impact on Washington by shutting down the favor factory and putting a stop to the corrupting influence of earmarks.


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