John McCain -- My Candidate - Part 3

On to part 3 of reasons to vote for John McCain and be happy doing it. I would not call John McCain a pure conservative but I do view him as a conservative-leaning principled politician. As you all well know conservatism speaks to two fronts. The first is being conservative on a social level. This would include things such as honoring all life, protecting family values, or defending our constitutional gun rights. The second front is being a fiscal conservative. This denotes favoring smaller government, less spending, and lower taxes. I would like to focus on one of the most anti-conservative actions of our legislators -- PORK BARREL SPENDING. If you ask anyone in the know of politics they will tell you that John McCain is the STRONGEST OPPONENT of pork barrel spending. This has helped to give him the name of "Maverick" and made him enemies in both political parties. Here we go:

1 -- What is pork barrel spending?

The term pork barrel politics refers to government spending that is intended to benefit constituents of a politician in return for their political support, either in the form of campaign contributions or votes. The term originated early in American history, when slaves were sometimes given a barrel of salt pork as a reward and had to compete among themselves to get their share of the handout.[1][2] Typically, it involves funding for government programs whose economic or service benefits are concentrated in a particular area but whose costs are spread among all taxpayers. Public works projects and agricultural subsidies are the most commonly cited examples, but they do not exhaust the possibilities.[3] Pork barrel spending is often allocated through last-minute additions to appropriation bills.


2 -- How does pork barrel spending get into bills?

Pork-barrel projects, or earmarks, are added to the federal budget by members of the appropriation committees of United States Congress. This allows delivery of federal funds to the local district or state of the appropriation committee member, often accommodating major campaign contributors. To a certain extent, a member of Congress is judged by their ability to deliver funds to their constituents. The Chairman and the ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations are in a position to deliver significant benefits to their states.


3 --How do the candidates fare on wasteful spending?

Democrats promised to reduce the number of earmarks when they gained control of Congress, however, that did not happen. The only apparent change is that each earmark must now include the name of the congressional sponsor requesting money for their pet projects.

So how did the presidential candidates fare on earmarks? Tom Schatz is president of Citizens Against Government Waste, and he says that one presidential candidate in particular stands out from the rest. "You compare the 261 [earmarks] that Senator Clinton received to the zero that Senator McCain received, which is the same number he gets every year," notes Schatz. "And even Congressman Kucinich, viewed as a very liberal member of congress, only got six earmarks."

Senator Barack Obama (D-Illinois) got 46 earmarks, less than one-fifth the number Senator Hillary Clinton (D-New York) received, and Representative Ron Paul (R-Texas) got 10 earmarks in the budget.


4 -- Who is the biggest opponent of pork barrel spending?

In his second major policy address in a week, McCain said Republicans, after winning control of Congress, “forgot who we were: tight-fisted stewards of the federal treasury who keep our priorities straight.”

The senator, who has a long history of fighting government waste, said spending has gone from irresponsible to indefensible, claiming “pork-barrel politics balkanizes America into competing interests groups just as race-based or religion-based or class-based politics do.”
McCain vowed to use the veto power often to fight pork-barrel spending.

“Give me the pen, and I’ll use it,” the senator said at a speech to the Economic Club of Memphis. “I won’t just talk about it or threaten it, or use it once and put it back in the drawer to gather dust. Give me the pen, and I’ll veto every single pork-barrel bill Congress sends me, and if they keep sending them to me, I’ll use the bully pulpit to make the people who are wasting your money famous.”

5 -- What is McCain's official stance on pork barrel spending?

Seal the Pork Barrel

Among the most glaring abuses in Washington is the willful setting aside of taxpayer dollars for the pet projects of special interests, often through last minute additions to appropriations bills. Pork barrel spending is an insult to taxpayers, a waste of public resources, and an abdication of our leaders' responsibility to be good and honorable stewards of the public treasury, for the benefit of all Americans, not just a few.

Too often it appears that elected leaders use the treasury as a campaign kitty, channeling taxpayer dollars for pet projects to preserve incumbency rather than to meet national needs. John McCain has been a tireless warrior against wasteful spending, and one of the few leaders who has the guts to challenge abusive Congressional earmarks and the pork barrel politics that grip Washington. John McCain understands that, fundamentally, wasteful spending is an issue of ethics.

As he pointed out recently as part of his longstanding, principled, and often lonely vigil against pork barrel earmarks in Congress: "Earmarked dollars have doubled just since 2000, and more than tripled in the last 10 years. This explosion in earmarks led one lobbyist to deride the appropriations committees as favor factories. The time for us to fix this broken process is long overdue." As President, John McCain would shine the disinfecting light of public scrutiny on those who abuse the public purse, use the power of the presidency to restore fiscal responsibility, and exercise the veto pen to enforce it.


BTW -- Pork barrel spending accounted for 29 BILLION (yes, with a B) dollars in 2006. Any questions?


Anonymous said...

Great post, Jason!!
McCain's fiscal policies make me proud! I wish more Republicans were like him in this respect.

Brooke said...

Yes, great post!

The amount of pork is absolutely stunning, and disgusting, too!

Hopefully, McCain would have the cajones to veto ANYTHING, no matter how fuzzy-good the underlying legislation is, that has ANY pork in it.

I know McCain doesn't do the pork, but hearing the man say something along the lines of the above would do wonders for my confidence in him.

Infantry Dad said...

A vote for McCain is a vote for four more years of the same old same old.
Although a lot more refined than Bush, his idea of diplomacy is to kick the collective asses of all countries who don't agree with our form of democracy.

Papa Frank said...

Infantry dad -- welcome to our humble blog. Make yourself at home, we're all friends here. What do you base thinking that McCain would be the same as George Bush on? I don't see the correlation between the two. These two have been at odds on many things and John McCain is at odds with his own party at several points in his 26 year stay in Congress. The most notably on what this post is about. Do you think that McCain will seek to fight everyone? What do you base that on? I look forward to hearing your view.

Yehudi01 said...

Jason, I just read your three-part series, and I love how eloquently you've communicated the merits of McCain. I've always been told that if you want to be promoted at work, be the obvious choice. If anyone cares to really look at the issues and the character of the candidates, McCain has clearly made himself the obvious choice! Barring something unforseen, like suddenly declaring a hatred for Israel, McCain has my vote.

Chuck said...

It would be nice to see a little fiscal sanity restored to Washington. There's not even a comparison between McCain and Osama.

BTW, my daughter loved the pigs in the pumpkin picture. If it's ok, I saved it for her.

WomanHonorThyself said...

yes. how did u get so smart?..hehe

Shaina said...

I just want to point out that earmarks are not exactly as they seem. They don't always mean an increase in the money appropriated to the bill. They just determine what the money already appropriated can be spent on. So while McCain has none, that doesn't mean he is cutting spending in any way. The way he votes for the bills shows where he stands on spending.

Also this is nothing personally against McCain or you for that matter Jason!

Shaina said...

And just one more note. While Congressman Paul does have 10, it is on bills that he knows will pass, although he may be against them himself (and votes against them)working. However, since they will pass he wants the money not spent on ridiculous things, he wants the money responsibly spent. It checks the executive power. So while I am very proud that McCain has none, I also didn't like the blanketed conclusion of Congressman Paul.

Papa Frank said...

My BIGGEST problem with earmarks is that they do not belong at all and should be illegal. Everything that a bill is hoping to accomplish NEEDS to be in the bill itself and voted on. I realize that if earmarks were illegal we would not suddenly save all the money spent on them. Some of the spending would be spent anyhow. However, it would be far more above board to have everything in the bill before it is voted on and it would take away much of the power of the appropriations committee which is filled with lifetime politicians that have padded their friends pockets. Friends who in return pay for their elections and lifestyle.

We pay politicians to be in congress and vote. There is no reason that things should not be voted on one at a time. If an idea is a good idea it will stand on its own. No more stacking bills to tighten laws on child molesters with hidden laws that give money to pay for abortions or laws that restrict gun rights or whatever else. If senators have to vote 4 times more than they do now and can't take 5 week vacations -- tough luck! That's the job -- take it or leave it!!!

Papa Frank said...

By the way -- there's a link on my sidebar under my "blog brothers and sisters" labeled PORK. If you go there you can see by state what earmarks every politician has received, how much they were for, and where they went to. It also says how much campaign money each politician got and from where. Very interesting sight.

Papa Frank said...

I meant site. ;)

Always On Watch said...

Slightly off topic....PIGS! I see PIGS! You know how I am about PIGS!

Yehudi01 said...

Hello my friend! I've decided to start blogging again...please feel free to stop by and say hello!

Shaina said...

Jason - agree! It shouldn't even be a problem. Hopefully there will be change in our time. Unfortunately there is a lot of apathy created by activists of change because they tell you all the problems and all you are left with is "Oh, that sucks". We need some leaders to offer up some solutions.

Also thanks for pointing out that site, probably never would have checked it out.

Z said...

MY biggest problem with earmarks is that the Republicans get blamed for not passing bills that sound SO beneficial and the public never hears that they couldn't pass it because of the hugely ridiculous earmarks on it...But the MSM will mock and scoff at how the mean old Republicans wouldn't pass the bill to help the elderly, or the injured, etc...grr

Thanks for the post, Pops. You are doing such a good job and such a service.
but I may never eat pork again.


EDGE said...

Guess you could call that last pic "makin' bacon."

Papa Frank said...

Edge -- LOL!!!

Z -- You are right and it upsets me. In fairness, Republicans do the same thing to democrats at times. The earmark problem is among both parties and demonstrates how neither one has us in mind anymore. We need a third option but the path to that is difficult at best and near impossible at worst. We need actual conservatives in congress. If the republican party continues to be less and less conservative (especially on fiscal matters) our country will be in a very bad way. By the way -- I had ham tonight and it's still wonderful!!! :)

Shaina -- thanks for making this post interesting. You are so right about needing leaders with real solutions. Part of the problem there is that we, as good consumers, require solutions that fit into the next 6 months or a year. Real solutions may take dedication and 10 - 15 years. Many of our problems have come over 30 years. Why shouldn't it take another 30 to fix them correctly?

Daniel -- so glad to see you out and about! Welcome back!!!

Always -- I do what I can to please!

Steve Harkonnen said...

Good post and I agree with the points made on pork barrel spending - however, I can't agree with McCain. Still voting for Chuck Baldwin this election period. I guess we must remain to our commitments and even though I may disagree with your positive outlook on McCain I do respect it.

Come join in on the recent discussion on my post about the Russia/Georgia war. I'm surprised not too many bloggers are discussing it yet.

Z said...

edge is HILARIOUS!

M.A. said...

No more money for bridges (that don't exist) written into bills meant for something that has nothing to do with bridges! It's just such a secretive, covert way of sneaking things by the general public.

Earmarks need to be illegal and those who attempt to add them should be punished.

Every bill should have a (very) specific main topic and anything in the wording of the bill or amended to the bill MUST be directly related to that main topic. Period.

Papa Frank said...

m.a. -- I couldn't agree more. Thanks for stopping by our humble blog. Make yourself at home -- we're all friends here.

Brooke said...