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Five Schools of Thought on Earmarks

Posted on Nov. 30, 10 | 08:45 AM by Andrew Roth | Topic: Pork
Link to Article:

CQ's Kerry Young has divided Congress into five schools of thought when it comes to earmarks.  
  • Earmark pragmatists, who see them as necessary for members of Congress to do (and keep) their jobs.

  • Earmark originalists, who see them as a solemn duty under the Constitution.

  • Earmark purists, against them on principle, either because they waste money or because they invite corruption.

  • Earmark symbolists, who oppose them for symbolic reasons only or because they’ve been browbeaten.

  • Earmark asterisks, who oppose them, except, of course, the ones they don’t oppose.
Jim DeMint, Tom Coburn, and Jeff Flake are definitely in  the purist camp.  Most House GOP appropriators are currently "symbolists" because they support the current ban on earmarks.  But once that ban is lifted (whenever that is), they'll go back to being originalists or pragmatists.  The GOP rank and file - those members who never stand out, who never proactively engage in a fight - are usually pragmatists.  The asterisk category is much more nuanced.  The CQ article ($) provides this example:
“Advocating for transportation projects for one’s district in my mind does not equate to an earmark,” Minnesota Republican and tea party favorite Rep. Michele Bachmann told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “I don’t believe that building roads and bridges and interchanges should be considered an earmark.”
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