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December 2, 2010

TEA PARTY CAUCUS SURE DOES LOVE EARMARKS.... Well, that ought to be embarrassing.

Members of the Congressional Tea Party Caucus may tout their commitment to cutting government spending now, but they used the 111th Congress to request hundreds of earmarks that, taken cumulatively, added more than $1 billion to the federal budget.

According to a Hotline review of records compiled by Citizens Against Government Waste, the 52 members of the caucus, which pledges to cut spending and reduce the size of government, requested a total of 764 earmarks valued at $1,049,783,150 during Fiscal Year 2010, the last year for which records are available.

"It's disturbing to see the Tea Party Caucus requested that much in earmarks. This is their time to put up or shut up, to be blunt," said David Williams, vice president for policy at Citizens Against Government Waste. "There's going to be a huge backlash if they continue to request earmarks."

And continue they might. The caucus leader, unhinged Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), has already said she'll remain a staunch opponent of earmarks -- except for transportation projects in her Minnesota district, which she considers fully justified.

In fairness, the issue goes well beyond Bachmann. Rep. Joe "You lie!" Wilson (R-S.C.) requested $23.3 million in earmarks; Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) sought about $7 million in earmarks, and even Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) got in on the act, requesting nearly $7 million in earmarks himself.

Just to clarify, I don't much care either way. Whether these right-wing lawmakers support, oppose, seek, or refuse earmarks is really of no consequence. The whole fight strikes me as kind of silly.

But I do think there's something to be said for intellectual consistency, and think there's a problem when members of Congress align themselves with far-right zealots, taking a stand against earmarks, only to turn around and see those identical members of Congress requesting over $1 billion in earmarks.

There's also the larger entertainment factor -- do Tea Partiers even realize what their own allies have been up to?

Steve Benen 11:00 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (23)

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"do Tea Partiers even realize what their own allies have been up to?"

Of course not. You're talking about a group so fucking stupid that they can't comprehend that Obama lowered their taxes.

Posted by: jharp on December 2, 2010 at 11:08 AM | PERMALINK

But I do think there's something to be said for intellectual consistency . . .

You're kidding, right? You must be to use the word "intellectual" in any way when you're referring to the Teabaggers.

Posted by: SteveT on December 2, 2010 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

I echo jharp above.

Also, too, if FOX, Rush, Glenn and Sean don't tell them about it, how are they supposed to know?

Reading isn't even fundamental with these people, it's a luxurey, and comprehension is nigh on impossible.
So, they won't know about it unless told, or you can explain this in pictures they can color in.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on December 2, 2010 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

Your implication that Teabaggers and their Corporate masters have any integrity is misguided and part of the problem we face.

The last election has fully shown us that this group of vigilantes is fully willing to lie to get power. Their supporters, just like the bush43-bots they were prior to their 'new' conversion value power more than what they say they are fighting for.

They lie. They lie in just about every sentence they utter. The Democratic party has to start highlighting this at every single speech, news conference, and conversation whether the MSM starts repeating it or not.

Posted by: kindness on December 2, 2010 at 11:17 AM | PERMALINK

Tea Baggers= Solient Green on the Hoof

Posted by: andyvillager on December 2, 2010 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

Intellectual consistency? Realizing what their allies are doing? Jeebus, Steve, you know that only Democrats request earmarks and spend taxpayers' money. Move ON, man!

Posted by: Lifelong Dem on December 2, 2010 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

andyvillager said:
Tea Baggers= Solient Green on the Hoof

You're wrong andy, 'Solient Green is people!'

The Teabaggers . . . ?

Posted by: SteveT on December 2, 2010 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

In a parallel world, not so different from ours, Teabaggers are the most ardent supporters of earmarks. Why? Because earmarks are the alternative to allocating funds based on pointy-headed bureaucratic analysis. Thus, supporting earmarks easily gels with the Tea Party's loathing of expertise and rational thought.

Posted by: Grumpy on December 2, 2010 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

The Tea Party Caucus did not add $1 billion to the budget; they increased government debt by $1 billion to deliver pork to their districts. Framing is important.

Posted by: Sempringham on December 2, 2010 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

Just like first graders making rules for the playground... they're always for the OTHER guy.

Posted by: ML on December 2, 2010 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

When are we going to see a Tea Party protesting the GOP in DC for the earmarks?

Posted by: Live Free or Die on December 2, 2010 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

When are we going to see a Tea Party protesting the GOP in DC for the earmarks?

Posted by: Live Free or Die on December 2, 2010 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

"Do Tea Partiers realize what their own allies are up to?"

My guess - no, they don't; but it's not because they are uninformed, it's because they are not ideologically driven. "Earmarks" became a convenient slogan, but none of them cared really or even know what earmarks are, how they work, etc. It sounded like a good thing to be against but your own member of Congress better be able to deliver. Few people like Congress, but incumbents keep getting re-elected. Same phenomenon.

Posted by: tomb on December 2, 2010 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

"There's going to be a huge backlash if they continue to request earmarks."

LOL. That's the funniest thing I'll hear all day.

Posted by: AndThenThere'sThat on December 2, 2010 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

The Tea Party's vocal adherents are in general a bunch of older folks who felt they missed out on the uprisings of the 1960s and they want their chance to howl.

They are by no means consistent, nor are they interested in what is best for the country: they simply want to vent.

And sleazy Republicans, the Koch Brothers and Dick Armey give them what they want.

Posted by: jjm on December 2, 2010 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

Careful, now: earmarks don't add a penny extra to the budget. Earmarks merely specify how money that's already been approved should be spent. If a highway bill for $100 billion is approved, and Joe Congressman gets in an earmark that says, "$75 million will go to a new interchange in my district," that doesn't add $75 million.

Posted by: Wally on December 2, 2010 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

Everything serves to demonstrate what they already believe. That they can't trust politicians or government.
There won't be any backlash. They will simply vote in the next con man who makes the right noises to replace the last one.

Posted by: thebewilderness on December 2, 2010 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

I had lunch Tuesday with a strong willed Republican of the tea bagger variety. Nice person, but he kept after me about earmarks and how they had to stop earmarks. I tried to explain to him that several projects I know he supports were funded by earmarks, and that earmarks are the tool used by congressmembers to bring a little bacon home instead of letting a few folks in the administration do all the spending. I spent a long time talking to him. I told him my position on earmarks is that they need to be out in the open for all of us to see. If the project has merit we should reward our congressmember, if not we should punish him. I thought he understood what I was saying.

He looked at me and quietly said "we have to stop those damn Obama earmarks!!"

I changed the subject.

Posted by: Ron Byers on December 2, 2010 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

"There's going to be a huge backlash if they continue to request earmarks."
Yeah. I mean no.

Posted by: Mike on December 2, 2010 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

its just a misunderstanding.

Tea Partiers oppose earmarks, defined as money spent on things that help non-whites or non-Christianists.

There are virtually no non-whites or non-Christianists in MN-6 or IA-5, so by definition Bachmann and King are not supporting earmarks. They are helping return the tax dollars Washington took from deserving white Christian Americans.

no inconsistency at all!

Posted by: zeitgeist on December 2, 2010 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

"There's going to be a huge backlash if they continue to request earmarks."

Um, why? There's absolutely zero evidence to support the assertion that any member of the Tea Party is open to changing his or her mind once the facts no longer support their beliefs.

Posted by: 400metres on December 2, 2010 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

If past performance is any indicator, the tea partiers won't care and won't hold those Reps accountable for their hypocrisy. Following the rules is only for Democrats and liberals.

Posted by: digitusmedius on December 2, 2010 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

they used the 111th Congress to request hundreds of earmarks that, taken cumulatively, added more than $1 billion to the federal budget

This is not true. They directed $1 billion of funds that had already been put in the budget -- big difference, and one that the National Journal ought to be aware of.

Posted by: Aaron S. Veenstra on December 2, 2010 at 11:56 PM | PERMALINK
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