Boy, they sure are experienced up there on Capitol Hill. Expert career politician Henry Hyde once denigrated the concept of term limits by claiming that the only alternative to permanently entrenched politicians was to pluck the names of representatives at random out of the phonebook. Recently we’ve had a couple congressmen real pros, not refugees from the phone book demonstrating their expertise in the game of pork.
Porkbarrel projects are projects that congressmen want for their state or district to help them politically. Senator John McCain, who presents himself as an opponent of pork, has just managed to get $14.3 million for the Luke Air Force Base added to the military appropriations bill. The money is wanted to add land to the base. But as Roll Call points out, the project was neither requested by the White House nor authorized by the Armed Services committee.
Absent these, the spending fits McCain’s own definition of a pork project. And yes, these kinds of self-serving, last-minute spending additions to appropriations bills certainly meet my own definition of pork too. The chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Republican Ted Stevens, doesn’t hesitate to add this prime chop to his spending agenda. Stevens has fought McCain’s attempts to kill pork projects in the past. But now he is magnanimous. Mainly, it’s so he can gloat. Says Stevens: “One man’s pork is another man’s alternate white meat. We don’t discriminate,” he says.
They’ll spend anything. That’s experience for you. Where’s that phonebook?
This is Common Sense.Â I’m Paul Jacob.