You might indeed term it the “Bacon of the Month Club” when speaking about Senator Arlen Specter (R-Pa) who seems to take pleasure and certainly has no problem taking credit for funds “earmarked” for his voters. That’s “voters.”
Chris Cillizza and Paul Kane have written an article in The Washington Post, “If “Earmark” is a Dirty Word, Pennsylvanians Must Be Blushing.” In the article they relay how conservative Republican Arlen Specter is playing the role of Democratic spender on the shoulders of Obama’s massive Federal spending programs and making sure people know about it. This despite facing a potential challenge from a conservative Republican in next year’s primary.
One day ago President Obama signed into law a $410 billion catchall spending bill for most federal agencies. Specter and Democratic Senator Robert P. Casey Jr. issued not one but five news releases advising their folk about all pieces of earmarked legislation they had procured.
The 16-page document reflects the $161 billion in projects secured by the senators: In other words they are reflecting 39 percent of the possible total passed.
Specter appears to have taken the political position that “grabbing” for one’s own constituents isn’t pork barrel but anyone else who does is bringing home the bacon in a most destructive manor.
Senator Specter, 79, as the article points out, has moved more towards liberalism in his voting casting one decisive vote on the President’s $787 billion stimulus package.
Something that Cillizza and Kane pointed out was the fact that Specter is a senior member of the Appropriations Committee. Further, he will soon be the ranking member on said committee.
Specter is expecting a hard-fought Primary battle maintaining $6 billion in his war chest.
What is “pork barrel” in a political context?
Pork barrel is legislative assistance that yields jobs or other economic benefits to a relatively small and specific area.
In Illinois for a long time we have had Interstate improvement for jobs (a five-year program) and we have had strong political clout to get that done.
Further, when a local businessman has been mayor there has always been a relaxation of “impediments” that can possibly get in the way of commerce.
Now that all of this money has been legislated we see that Obama’s approval rating has dropped. This mentality and position Specter has taken may backfire.