porkbustersnewsm.jpgPORKBUSTERS UPDATE: Ramesh Ponnuru criticizes PorkBusters. Meanwhile, Sen. Tom Coburn offers a defense:

Porkbusters represent what is arguably the only grassroots movement since 1994 to gain traction and build momentum on the core American principle of limited government. The Porkbusters movement is not particularly concerned with the electoral fate of Republicans or Democrats, but they are concerned with the fate of the Republic and their own tax dollars. Quite simply, Porkbusters is a movement comprised of individuals who are just plain sick of their money being wasted, quite often in secret, by self-serving politicians.

Establishment Republicans loathe the Porkbusters because they are effective. They are so effective, in fact, that one powerful politician said of them in 2006, “I’ll just say this about the so-called Porkbusters. I’m getting damn tired of hearing from them. They have been nothing but trouble ever since Katrina.” Recall that in October 2005, the Senate voted to protect the “Bridge to Nowhere” by a vote of 82-15. Today, thanks to unrelenting pressure, both parties are clamoring to out-reform the other. Rather than belittling this movement, the Republican establishment should embrace and learn from it.

One of the most troubling aspects of the establishment’s hostility toward Porkbusters are not necessarily the arguments marshaled in defense of pork but the degree to which apologists are out of touch and unaware of their own condescension toward the movement.

Which unawareness is itself evidence of why the GOP lost in 2006. As Coburn notes: “The results of the last election, however, suggest that pork projects really are both bad policy and bad politics. Among the nine Republican appropriators (members who have the greatest ability to bring home the bacon) who were vulnerable in the last election, only three won.”

More here.