Rising Above Principle


I may be wrong, but it appears that Mark Tapscott, who certainly knows better, is suggesting that the utterances of a politician should exhibit some small measure of consistency.

This puts me in mind of something that a Tammany Hall pol once said. (I can’t remember who, but I don’t think it was the memorable and oft-quoted George Washington Plunkitt.) “There comes a time when a man must rise above his principles,” the quote goes, and in partisan Washington, that time seems to come quite often whenever Congress is in session.

Kimberley A. Strassel offers a prime example: “In front of the cameras, both parties claim to have found earmark religion, and are talking up a bill that would reform the way Congress asks for billions in goodies for lawmakers’ home districts. Behind the scenes, they’re working feverishly to keep the earmarks rolling, this time using a technique outside of the legislative process and hidden from public view.”

Strassel claims, “All across Washington, members are at this moment phoning budget officers at federal agencies–Interior, Defense, HUD, you name it–privately demanding that earmarks in previous legislation be fully renewed again this year. There might not be a single official earmark in the 2007 spending bill, but thousands are in the works all the same.”

Wouldn’t it be nice if those budget offices regularly logged all such phone calls from Capitol Hill offices and regularly made the logs public?