The formerly respected media outlet then posted an astonishingly vapid interview. Who's paying them to print such crap? Or is their reputation so shot, they don't need a high price to make up for the nonexistent loss of integrity.
The Center for American Progress' Scott Lilly sums up the earmark story this way:
The great conservative spin machine that stretches from the White House Press Room across the various right-wing think tanks to Fox News and dozens of conservative columnists and talk show hosts has amassed an impressive list of accomplishments over the years. But none of the efforts by this vast echo chamber is more impressive than the recent attempt to reshape the Bush White House and their allies in Congress as opponents of the practice of placing earmarks in federal spending legislation.
Please go a read the entire piece. This story hasn't gotten a lot of play and Mr. Lilly seems to be the only one who has looked at the big picture. If you don't have time for the whole things, here's a bit more:
Republicans in Congress, of course, did not invent the practice of earmarking. It is an innate power granted to the Congress by the Constitution; these little fiscal set asides can be found in spending bills going back to the beginning of the republic. But no one with any recollection of the performance of Congress over the past decade can have any doubt that earmarking exploded during the period that Republicans dominated Congress and that the practice became most egregious after George W. Bush moved into the Oval office.
. . . Bills that had historically contained some number of earmarks saw that number mushroom and the money allocated to earmarking double or even triple.
In 2005, President Bush traveled to the Illinois district of the House Speaker Dennis Hastert to sign a highway bill containing not only the infamous “bridge to nowhere” but more earmarks than the combined total of earmarks in all of the highway bills since the Highway Trust Fund was created in 1956. Not only did the president sign the bill—he used the occasion to praise one of the most outrageous earmarks in American history, a four lane stretch of highway running past along land recently purchased by the author of the earmark, Speaker Hastert.
Even this year, the President and many of his allies in Congress are trying to have it both ways on the issue of “merit-based” spending. The president’s budget request contains hundreds of proposed set asides for particular projects or activities selected by the executive branch. Even more troubling is that “merit-based” decision making on how money is spent seems to be the last thing this administration is interested in once funds have been appropriated. Recent analysis of contracting practices during this administration indicates that the amount of money spent on non-competitive contracting has more than tripled over the past six years. In 2006, the federal government spent more than $200 billion on non-competitive contracts or more than ten times the amount that was spent on Congressional earmarks during the same year.
Congressional Republicans have spent hours and hours on the House floor this year decrying earmarks, but they have spent far more time back in their offices crafting letters to ask for them. Republican Congressman Patrick McHenry of North Carolina led an effort that held up appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security for nearly a week to protest earmarking. “I'm very proud of the actions that my conservative friends are taking on this House floor to hold the Democrats accountable for their slush fund, their secret earmarks and their pork-barrel projects,” he boasted. “And I urge the body to move in the conservative direction.”
The message was clear: Any member who opposes our corrupt system of favors and earmarks becomes persona non grata with the appropriations committee and his pork-barreling colleagues. It is, naturally, out of the question for such an uncooperative member to get his own earmarks. McHenry was humiliated but given a lesson on congressional power.
So, here's Bob Novak's insipid unanswered lies the Washington Post printed today:
McHenry's $129,000 earmark would have promoted tourism in economically distressed Mitchell County. The new Democratic majority's leadership, which routinely supports earmarks, cracked the whip against this one, apparently in the spirit of political revenge. A conservative firebrand, McHenry had immobilized the House and humiliated the Democrats by leading GOP parliamentary maneuvers to force transparency regarding earmarks, previously hidden by both parties.
That earmark lost 249 - 174 from an amendment proposed by the man who is truly admired for his fight against earmarks, Arizona's Jeff Flake.
And the insipid interview. Well, you'll just have to go see for yourself. But it was nice of the Washington Post's Sleuth to mention us in the second paragraph. Too bad she didn't ask about his stand on credit unions, or the voter fraud indictment of his former staff member/housemate. If they wanted to be so gossipy, why didn't they ask about his preference for young men or allegations of providing alcohol to minors at a political event in Catawba. Here's a sample:
As feisty as he is small (he's 5 feet 3 inches or something; he doesn't measure), McHenry is one of his party's chief attack dogs on the House floor, generally raising hell and employing whatever parliamentary tactic he can to obstruct the Democratic majority's legislation.
The baby of five children and the youngest member of Congress, McHenry was born to be precocious. His high visibility and tenacious scrappiness have earned him plenty of liberal detractors (hence a Web site called Pat Go Bye-Bye Web site and a Washington Monthly cover story comparing him to Tom DeLay and Karl Rove.) But he has also gotten buckets of praise and support from his elder fellow conservatives.
The best moments come with the questions about his love life:
Sleuth: Do you have time for dating? What's it like being a 31-year-old single guy in the House?
McHenry: [Laughter] I try to make time for that. It's just difficult with the schedule and everything else. I'm, uh, just trying to, I'm still trying to find the right girl. And I think in all due time it'll work out.
Sleuth: And is there a certain set of criteria you're looking for?
Sleuth: What is it?
McHenry: A number of things. [Laughter]
Sleuth: Just give me a little example. Does she have to like NASCAR? I hear you're a big NASCAR fan.
McHenry: Well, look, half the NASCAR teams are in my district. Dale Earnhardt Jr. is a constituent. Dale Jarrett. So I don't know, you don't really have a litmus test on that. I think when you meet the right girl, you know. At least that's what all my friends tell me.
I'd like to know where we're supposed to be finding the liberal media bias I keep hearing so much about.