porkbustersnewsm.jpgPORKBUSTERS UPDATE: Going after the porkers, in the WSJ:

An albatross Republicans must haul around this year is that voters no longer clearly see them as the party best able to control government spending and taxes. GOP pork-barrel kings such as Sen. Ted Stevens and Rep. Don Young are a big reason. Now allegations of corruption are swirling around both men as they face stiff challenges in Alaska’s Aug. 26 Republican primary.

Messrs. Stevens and Young have done enormous damage nationally to the Republican brand. They were champions of the infamous “Bridge to Nowhere,” a $223 million span to Gravina Island with 50 people on it, that became the butt of late-night comedians. But the jokes have been replaced with anger: Mr. Stevens was indicted last month on seven felony counts of lying about $250,000 in gifts he received from the head of the oil services company VECO, Bill Allen, who was seeking earmarks from the senator. Mr. Young has spent over $1 million in legal fees fighting a federal investigation of his ties to VECO. . . . Indeed, it was the power of the purse that Messrs. Stevens and Young wielded for so long that helped entrench the earmark culture among Congressional Republicans. Few dared risk their wrath. When he became chairman of the Appropriations Committee in 1997, Mr. Stevens proclaimed, “I’m a mean, miserable SOB.” When his “Bridge to Nowhere” was challenged in 2005, Mr. Stevens warned fellow senators “if we start cutting funding for individual projects, your project may be next.”

The real damage to the Republican brand has been the national party’s refusal to ease these guys out. They deserve to lose big in the primary. If they don’t, the Republicans deserve to lose the seats.