Some of our readers have argued that the removal of the Bridges to Nowhere earmark is a token victory, since local Alaskan officials will still receive more than $400 million to spend as they see fit. Symbolic or substantial, the win over pork still has Alaskan Rep. Don Young, chairman of the transportation committee, so angered that he's cornering House colleagues and reminding them he won't forget it. The Hill has the full story.
The Spectacle Blog
Before newbies to the leadership ladder start campaigning, there remain some big dogs to push out of the way. Biggest is Rep. John Boehner, who has been waiting for his shot at the leader's chair now for several election cycles.
Boehner has been doggedly fundraising, working K Street and helping his colleagues for years and isn't because he enjoys the hustle of it all. He will be a tough competitor. But the more the merrier.
Rep. Tom Reynolds mean anything to you? Pat Hynes's AnkleBitingPundits.com thinks he will soon enough. The current chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee wants to move up -- way up -- in the GOP House leadership. He's from Buffalo, so there's a lot more to him than there was, say, from Rick Lazio. But how do he and, say, Mike Pence, mesh?
Well, now we have a small lesson in leadership. From, unsurprisingly, the Vice President. Striking back at Dems for their "Bush lied us into war" campaign, Mr. Cheney said:
Or defunded. But conservatives are rejoicing at the victory over the two transportation projects that amounted to hundreds of millions of dollars in Congressional earmark spending. Andrew Roth has the round up of news and commentary. Next up: parking garages and bike paths.
UPDATE: Readers note that while the bridges are gone, the funds are still flowing to Alaska, probably as a concession to please Ted Stevens. Still, it's a sizable victory.
Merging the topics of my previous two posts, here's a classic Sarbanes Banking Committee moment, as recounted by Bill Bradford in 1997:
[Alan] Greenspan ... recommended to a Senate committee that economic regulations all should be sunsetted. Senator Paul Sarbanes accused him of "playing with fire, or indeed throwing gasoline on the fire," and asked him whether he favored a sunset provision in the authorization of the Fed.
Greenspan coolly answered that he did. Do you actually mean, demanded the senator, that the Fed "should cease to function unless affirmatively continued"? "That is correct, sir," Greenspan responded. "All right," the senator came back. "The Defense Department?" "Yes."
The Senator could scarcely believe his ears.
Is it really that bad to have sunset provisions on laws that expand government power during wartime? The Patriot Act is a big, complicated law, and while some of its provisions are necessary and useful, others aren't (for example, the way the Patriot Act expanded the already nigh-useless data-collection that started with the Bank Secrecy Act). A periodic reassessment seems entirely appropriate.
I'll be on again with John Batchelor (WABC radio in NY and nationally-syndicated) tonight about 10:35 EST talking about the latest on the Fitzgerald/Plame/Wilson/Libby saga. Bob Woodward's statement raises some new and interesting points about the Fitzgerald investigation. We'll be talking about that and more.