Compared to the waste, fraud and mismanagement of most government spending, earmarks are a drop in the bucket. That's why many people don't worry too much about them.
But some of those who oppose earmarks do so because they lead to an explosive growth in spending. If no one would have voted for some horrible bill unless they each hadn't been bought off with tiny earmarks, that means that we could have avoided a horrible bill without earmarks.
Besides, if there's one thing Republicans should have figured out by now, it's that voters are fed up with out-of-control spending and gimmickry by both parties. Perhaps someone should tell Rep. Mike Rogers of Alabama. According to Reuters:
Few members of Congress have been bold enough to use the "e" word since both the House and Senate temporarily banned the practice last year after public outcries about Alaska's "Bridge to Nowhere" and other pork barrel projects.
But as lawmakers wrestle with legislative paralysis, there are signs that earmarks - special interest projects that used to be tacked onto major bills - could make a comeback.
"I just got up ... and did it because I was mad because they were talking about how we can't get 218 votes," Rogers told Reuters, referring to the minimum of 218 votes needed to pass legislation in the 435-member House.
"There was a lot of applause when I made my comments. I had a few freshmen boo me, but that's okay. By and large it was very well embraced," he added.
New Republican members backed by the Tea Party movement have railed against earmarks as a symbol of out-of-control government spending and unaccountable lawmakers.
I guess the good news is that he got booed by some freshmen.