Bachmann Hypocritical on Earmarks

November 17th, 2010 at 1:49 am | 13 Comments |

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Talking Points Memo reports:

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) hates earmarks. Despises them. On her website, she calls the earmark system “little more than a political favor factory at taxpayer expense.” But when it comes to her own district, she’s in favor of a little earmark “redefinition.” Because what is an earmark, after all?

“Advocating for transportation projects for one’s district in my mind does not equate to an earmark,” Bachmann told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune yesterday.

“I don’t believe that building roads and bridges and interchanges should be considered an earmark,” Bachmann continued. “There’s a big difference between funding a tea pot museum and a bridge over a vital waterway.”

Bachmann, the leader of the House Tea Party Caucus, has made earmark reform a big part of her crusade against wasteful government spending.

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13 Comments so far ↓

  • JeninCT

    Why is that hypocritical? She’s right. Banning earmarks doesn’t mean banning all federal funding to districts.

  • midcon

    I agree with Michelle. I am surprised that I agree with her, but nonetheless there is a difference between infrastructure projects and amenities. However, even infrastructure projects could cross the boundary of becoming an earmark depending on purpose or scope (Alaska bridges anyone?). Of course that’s a moderate/centrist type of position and out of sync with Bachmans philosophy. Consequently, her positionn can be categorized as flip flopping.

  • Drosz

    I can’t believe I actually agree with her statement. There is a difference, but in reality infrastructure projects many times get funded through earmarks. However, just because you don’t like what it’s called doesn’t change this fact. If you believe some earmark spending is beneficial while other types of spending through earmarks are frivilous, just say so. I realize she’s playing politics, but this one’s easy and she screwed it up.

  • Watusie

    It is not an earmark if Baby Jesus tells you to ask for it.

  • Rob_654

    Incredible – when these Wannabe Fiscal Conservatives get their back pushed against the wall instead of finally (after many decades of promises from the Far Right) telling us what they will actually cut – they now start saying that they need to “redefine” things.

    Of course what is “pork” to one person is a “valid” project to another – so by the time the Far Right gets done “Redefining” things we will be left with no real spending cuts and the pork – oh I mean newly redefined and completely acceptable projects – will continue to have the money flow to them without so much as a pebble being thrown in its way…

  • Non-Contributor

    Earmarks are just giving taxpayers back their money. The problem with people like this is that they believe that they can distinguish between good and evil by some hyperbolic remark such as tea pot museums versus building roads. So should we no create a list of things that are not “worthy” of earmarks. Yeah, that will get you far.

    There is no such distinction and she is as loony as they get.

  • Non-Contributor


    “no create” should be “now create”

  • dugfromthearth

    she is wrong of course by the definition of earmarks – which is the kind of politicized labeling used to make good attack ads and bad policy.

    There are two issues. Earmarks – a bill defining where money needs to be spent, and wasteful spending. The two are not the same thing, it has just been politically convenient to pretend they are.

    So yes, she is being hypocritical. Her political style is broad generalizations to demonize her foes and then ignoring her rhetoric when it suits her.

  • easton

    JeninCT, for a normal politician (one who doesn’t scream about the cost of government all the time) I would agree. But why the hell should the federal government be funding a highway in Minnesota? If Minnesota wants the highway, let them fund it themselves. Isn’t that the whole point of federalism? So of course she is a hypocrite.

    I, for one, have no problem with the federal government funding the highway, but I am not an anti-federal government fanatic like Bachmann

  • JeninCT

    easton, you are agreeing with Bachman. Just admit it and move on :-)

  • Rabiner

    One man’s earmark is another man’s ‘important infrastructure project’. Seriously I find it humorous how people agree with her simply by the code words she uses. If she specifically is putting in infrastructure projects for her district then it is earmarking. If she is advocating for a project that is a competitive grant that is not earmarking. Big difference.

  • nuser

    She is scary!She also lies! Two hundred millions a day for Obama ‘s India trip.Stay home little lady, and look after your 23 wards.

  • busboy33

    @JeninCT and midcon:

    The difference is in the wordgame she’s playing. An “earmark” is specific funding for a specific project, almost always added to a bill by a particular legislator. So, putting a line in a bill that says “X dollars will go to my district for project Y” is an earmark.

    Now, certainly there are good and bad earmarks, just as there are good and bad government agencies, weapons programs, etc. But Michelle, the GOP, and the Tea Party aren’t pushing to ban BAD earmarks, they’re pushing to ban ALL earmarks.

    This is why so many people have been say they’ll never push thru on their rhetoric. Earmarks are their lifeline to their constituents. They make sure the federal money gets to their district, providsing services, jobs, tax revenue, etc.

    They can’t have a moratorium on “bad” earmarks because who’s to decide that? Is a teapot meuseum a bad earmark? I think so, but I’m sure the district and the legislator think its a great idea. Is a “Bridge to Nowhere” a bad earmark? I think its horrible . . . but Ted Stevens and Mama Grizzly just loved it to pieces.

    Her earmarking money for her district is an earmark. She certainly doesn’t want to call it that, since she’s made “earmark” synonymous with “evil”, but it literally is. A ban on earmarks would ban that . . . as well as the earmarks for a new irrigation system in Illinois, an earmark for updating a sex offender registry system, etc. Will it stop the teapot meuseum earmark too? Sure, but its throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

    So suprise! Lots of tough talk with no real intention of following thru on it. Aren’t politicians great?

    btw, rumor is that the trick is going to be to invent an entirely new type of appropriation — a “lettermark”. How will it be different than an “earmark”? It will be absolutely identical, just with a different name. That way, then can still suckle at the public teat and talk about how they’re fighting wasteful government. Its the old “sexual relationship” dodge, and their supporters will swollow it (no pun intended) because they want to believe their heros are really fighting the good fight . . . despite the clear evidence to the contrary.