Monday, November 27, 2006

Earmarks Revisited

Les Aucoin commented here yesterday regarding my highly mediocre post about Congressional earmarks. I feel he horribly misinterpreted the post and am thus posting my response as a new post instead of as a comment. Here's what Frmr Rep Aucoin said:
How do you like the MAX light rail lines--from PDX to Gresham and PDX to Hillsboro? Are they cutting emissions? Gasoline usage? Are the helping guide growth?

Earmarks, pal, both of 'em. I know. I helped perpetrate the "crimes."

It's hazardous to speak (or write) in absolutes.

Les AuCoin
U.S. Congressman, D-OR 1st District (ret.)

I didnt realize I was coming accross that way, I said everyone likes them and that this is why it wouldnt change with a Democratic Congress. I do think that some projects (bridge to nowhere) are way over the top. I stated quite clearly that there was a "universal incentive" to keep the pork coming. Yes, I do like the rail lines, and the fact that they and similar projects are so widely favored by constituencies is why nothing will change. Personally I don't know how it comes accross as though I were calling them a "crime"
(your word) and as absolutist argument against pork when I said this:
The fact is that while all legislators may rail about the pork that others are getting, and all voters dislike the pork that other districts/states recieve, all legislators love their own pork projects and all voters love the pet projects in their district that their legislator delivers to them.

Everybody likes the earmarks so there's no getting rid of them even though sometimes they get rediculous, that's the only point I was attempting to make in this post and I don't understand how it came accross the way you evidently read it. Am I critical of some of the projects? Definately, but I think I made it pretty clear that legislators are rewarded for bringing it home, and you're right, a lot of these projects do a lot of good as well. The New Deal was built in large part on these kinds of pet projects as a way to create jobs. Frankly your comment confuses me because I fail to see how it came off that way, but I guess it did. You're right about the light rail lines and about a million other projects just like them, and at no point would I ever have disagreed with you in that regard, hence my point, it wont change with the Democratic Congress.

At worst that was a bad post, and perhaps I should have found better language to make the point. But I feel it was badly misinterpreted in that comment.


Chuck Butcher said...

I was fair about this, I read the first post, then the comment, then the second post, in order.

The use of perjoratives leads to a negative context, pork has a negative connotation and anyone connected carries that stain. I'm quite sure that Les AuCoin's point is that he doesn't consider the projects he worked on as pork, but rather as specialized projects with wide effects and and wide constituent value. Frankly, I'd agree with him. Evidently you also do.

Nah, your article was scattershot by its own terminology, someone like AuCoin had reason to be offended, and your defence is really weak, consisting primarily of, "well I said it was popular." You sure aren't the only one whose fallen victim to the idea that earmarks are universally bad and NYT sure didn't do anything to paint a different picture. I read the article before I saw your's.

At some point I expect Les to take me down a notch also.

Cwech said...

fair criticism, I wish Frmr Rep AuCoin had said that rather than what he did say.

Chuck Butcher said...

You're a good writer, better than that post.

As for Les, well, I wasn't offended and he evidently was.