Of all the headlines of all the news articles I've read concerning the $410 billion spending bill for fiscal 2009, I never thought I would see this one from the Associated Press: "Obama Beats Early Retreat on Promise to Fight Pork."
WASHINGTON – Despite campaign promises to take a machete to lawmakers' pet projects, President Barack Obama is quietly caving to funding nearly 8,000 of them this year...Hope and change, indeed!
Democrats contend that earmarks in the bill total only $3.8 billion, less than 1 percent of the amount Congress is approving to finance government programs through September.Excuse me. Hope and small change, indeed!
Of course, some people -- like me -- might think that if we can't find the stones to draw the line on "only $3.8 billion" in pork-barrel spending, how will we ever find the tempered steel and iron will to make those really big cuts and decisions that will be needed to a $1.75 trillion deficit in half, like President Obama has promised. But hey, that's just me.
White House Budget Director Peter Orsazg said Sunday that the new administration wants to "move on ... get this bill done, get it into law and move forward."I'll bet they do. ("Move along, people! There's nothing to see here!")
Obama's chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, called the bill and its 8 percent spending increase over 2008 "last year's business."Last year's business paid for by the next generation's money. Sweet. ("I'll start exercising/quit smoking/begin that diet tomorrow. Really. I will.")
Obama is hardly the first president to promise to make Congress change its pork-barreling ways, and he certainly won't be the last. But he is the first to retreat so quickly, after only six weeks in the White House.Six weeks? Well then, I take it all back. This is more change than even Nancy Pelosi could have hoped for!
Then again, it's a very, very bad sign for the Obama administration when even the Associated Press is starting to catch on.
Hope and change, indeed...