Shout, “Hallelujah”! Mitch McConnell has finally seen the light on banning earmarks!
Politico: As he worked the phones over the past week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell concluded he was in a no-win situation over earmarks.
The Kentucky Republican could dig in and fight a proposed ban on earmarks, opening him up to attacks from his party’s right wing that he’s protecting wasteful pork-barrel spending. He could avoid taking a position publicly on the proposed ban and risk looking indecisive.
Or he could side with earmark detractors — and look as though he had capitulated in the first big test of his authority by the aggressive Sen. Jim DeMint-wing of the Republican Caucus, while forgoing what he believes are valuable projects he directs to Kentucky every year.
Sensing the political appeal lay squarely with earmark foes, McConnell stunned official Washington on Monday by saying he would support a two-year ban on the pet projects. [MORE]
Banning earmarks should be a no brainer for all Republicans. Earmark only account for a tiny fraction of our debt, but is probably the most well known aspect of reckless spending. So banning earmarks should be the most visible symbolic message the new Congress can send to the people saying they are serious about cutting debt and changing business as usual in Washington.
McConnell’s initial reluctance to an earmark ban signifies to me just how much work we have ahead us to get the GOP to see the error of its old way and exactly why we absolutely must not nominate an old GOP establishment type in 2012.