Do As I Say, Not As I Do


So let’s see a show of hands — Is anyone out there really surprised to see that business in Washington is going to keep on as usual?

I’m referring to, of course, the spending bill that President Obama signed on Wednesday — the same bill that contains billions of dollars of unnecessary earmarks in it, over 8,000 projects that total over $5 billion in the $410 billion bill.  Now that might not seem like a lot of money aside of the overall price tag, and technically, it isn’t — those earmarks represent less than 1.5% of the total amount of the bill.  But you see, that’s isn’t the point here — and using the relatively small amount of the earmark total as a justification for allowing those earmarks into the bill in the first place omits the bigger picture: It’s simply put, wasteful spending at a time when, as a country, we absolutely cannot continue running up federal deficits, no matter how “worthy” or “important” these earmarks are, according to their proponents.

What’s more disturbing to me is that Obama knows that the bill is, in his own words, “imperfect”.  But he’d rather not pick the fight here and try and eliminate them because … well, I’m not really sure why he won’t.  The reasoning will be that he’s allowing these pet projects to go through in order to keep the support of the powerful rank-and-file when he tackles more “important” reforms.  But I don’t think I’m alone in being disappointed that the President is unwilling to take on the idea of wasteful spending and stand up for the principles of what he supposedly believes in.  If you’re going to fix what’s broken, you’ve got to start somewhere, right?  He did, after all, make the promise during his campaign to go “line-by-line” through the budget in an attempt to slash earmarks just like the ones he’s let slip by here.

Sadly, his own words on Wednesday seem to be right out of the “Old Washington” script, and they run contradictory to his promises for reform made during the election campaign that caused so many voters around the country to gravitate to him as a man of real change.  “Done right, earmarks have given legislators the opportunity to direct federal money to worthy projects that benefit people in their districts, and that’s why I’ve opposed their outright elimination,” Obama said Wednesday.  Forgive me if I don’t want to hear the rest of it; I know how this story ends already — with Washington crooks wasting more of our money to help themselves stay in power.

I’d have more respect for Obama right now if he’d only been more forthright with the electorate during the campaign, but telling voters that, “We’ll keep doing things in Washington the way we always do them” wasn’t going to win the election in this current political climate, so we shouldn’t really be surprised, should we?  It’s just another Washington case of “Do as I say, but not as I do”.  Frankly, it’s why I’m pretty much “done” with believing anything that comes out of the mouth of any public official.

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