Wednesday, August 6, 2008

GOP Choice

John Fund of the WSJ observes that the GOP is at a crossroads: rally around old-school pork monsters like Sen. Ted Stevens and Rep. Don Young, or join Sens. Tom Coburn, Jim DeMint, and Rep. Scott Garrett in fighting corruption.

Mr. Fund believes that a number of events will combine to reduce the political desirability of earmarks: Stevens' indictment, Young's probable primary defeat, and the defeat of the "Coburn Omnibus". I would like to agree with Mr. Fund, but I think there's more work to do. Republican leaders didn't help defeat the "Reid Ramrod" out of any sense of anti-corruption altruism--they just wanted to black Reid's eye. And even if you knock out Stevens and Young, there are still plenty of pork monsters remaining on both sides of the aisle, including the greatest of them all Robert Byrd.

On a brighter note I'm heartened to see Mr. Fund write this:
The day before, Republicans enjoyed a rare success when they beat back an attempt by Majority Leader Harry Reid to ram through an earmark-laden omnibus bill that Mr. Coburn had refused to help pass by the often-abused "unanimous consent" process.

That's a perfect description of Coburn's procedural tactics. Kudos to Mr. Fund for getting it right.