Earmarks No longer a Good Thing

The campaign season is coming full circle and politics as usual is a curse. This is really about time. The story is out of Kansas where there is a three-story Opera House arts enthusiasts in this south-central Kansas town were worried about running out of money for its $8 million renovation. So U.S. Rep. Jerry Moran stepped in and secured a $142,500 earmark in the 2009 federal budget to help pay off a construction loan and put patrons in freshly upholstered, crimson-cushioned seats. At the time he thought it was a big score. The tables have turned and now coming up on an August 3 primary the Republican U.S. Senate nomination might have been a curse. The earmark has his opponent, fellow U.S. Rep. Todd Tiahrt, firing at him that is no longer conservative and wants his share of government grabs. Back in the day bringing home the dollars from Washington got you reelected this has suddenly begun to backfire as government spending becomes a central issue in the midterm election. Incumbents both Democrat and Republican a like are getting hammered by challengers on voting to bail out the banking industry and the economic stimulus money. The tea party movement is fanning outrage about government excess. U.S. Rep. Todd Tiahrt is not clean either as a member of the earmark-prone House Appropriations Committee he sponsored or co-sponsored 135 earmarks in the 2008, 2009 and 2010 budgets worth more than $200 million. Politics has always been a blood sport but this year none of the old rules apply. It is more like Fight Club the only rule is there are no rules.

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