PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: Ed Morrissey has some useful thoughts on pork:
Are Americans in love with pork? I find that hypothesis doubtful. Representative Jeff Flake of Arizona, who has crusaded against pork in Congress, ran on an explicitly anti-pork platform in Arizona for his re-election campaign. He promised to keep pork from flowing into his district — and he won re-election by a margin of 74%-26%, outpolling his challenger by 71,000 votes out of 147,000.
Why did Flake win? Voters in his district understand that pork and earmarks are the gateway drug to corruption. Every major corruption scandal has revolved around earmarking federal funds for grants and contracts to specific entities, who have returned the favor by showering the politicians with favors, gifts, and cash — plenty of cash. Bribery does not work as easily on the macro level in Congress, because it takes so many votes to get a bill passed. Instead, corrupting influences focus on gaining federal money through amendments and earmarks because those are routinely carried as a professional courtesy into the final version of the legislation.
If one cares about clean government, then one has to oppose pork and the earmarking process. At the very least, the process should be stripped of its anonymity and exposed to the taxpayers who foot the bill. If we can stop earmarks, then we can limit the damage possible from corrupt politicians. We need to promote more Jeff Flakes for office, and fewer Robert Byrds, Trent Lotts, and Ted Kennedys.
Read the whole thing.