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March 14, 2009

Palin's Earmark "Hypocrisy"

Wherein the media attempts to deflect blame from the President, who vowed to end earmarks and who, critically, actually has the power to do so, and put some of it on a governor (from a small, tiny, insignificant state, as we're always reminded) who has no such power.

I wrote this in an email to the cobloggers and figured I might as well share my wisdom more broadly.

I don't see the problem, honestly. What many reformers -- even Coburn -- say is that they would like a regime of no earmarks whatsoever, and they press for that. However, that is not the current regime, and few will vote for it. So the alternative is to unfairly burden a state's population by a unilateral, so to speak, rejection of earmarks, to make a very incremental step at improving the national fisc? Coburn too got rapped (by MSNBC) for "hypocrisy."

I don't think it's hypocrisy. It would be hypocrisy for Coburn to propose a bill that ended earmarks altogether... except for his own. Of course he has not. He wants to end them all. But, that proposition having not carried, what is he to do? Should his state alone give up earmarks for the sake of the national fisc, which is something everyone should be concerned about?

This is a "tragedy of the commons" type problem. If there's a common area of farmland with no owner, then everyone will come in and farm it to death, because one person refusing to farm will not save the land, as everyone else will just overfarm it to make up for that. What is needed is an owner -- or, if not an owner, at least someone with sovereign power over the commons to set rules and to make sure everyone only farms his share, to make sure it doesn't get overfarmed and destroyed as productive land.

The Senators (and Congressmen) are the farmers. The only person capable of overseeing the land is the President -- and the President has refused to do so, telling everyone "Farm the living hell out of it!"

Sarah Palin, as governor, isn't even at the commons. She's six villages away merely asking the farmers for some of their imprudent bounty.

Unlike Senators, who may be said to have an equal responsibility to the federal system and their state constituency, Palin has her state constituency as top priority. The federal thing is decidedly secondary.

In my view:

President: National, federal only responsibility

Senator: Equal(ish) responsibility to state and national interests. I'd say that the national interest must come first, but apparently a lot of senators don't agree.

Governor: responsibility to state first

Further: It is McCain's (not Palin's) position that there should be NO earmarks. I am sure Palin has urged this previously herself -- but as the deputy of/advocate for McCain. Holding her to every position she took as McCain's chief advocate seems, what's the word, silly. We all know how this works. Palin's real position seems to be that there should be limited earmarks, far fewer of them. I don't put a lot of stock in this "gotcha."

Palin offered herself up for the position of VP, where she could actually influence federal policy. The public rejected her. So she is now back as state governor. I don't see why she should be burdened with all the responsibilities of VP when she does not actually have the office.

Particularly when those who sought and won those offices -- Obama and Biden -- refuse to exercise that responsibility themselves.

And the attempt here by the liberal media -- including Tapper, who's more fair than most, but still liberal as all get-out -- to attempt to deflect blame from PRESIDENT Obama and VICE PRESIDENT Biden and put it on a state governor is absurd.

It's an attempt at "everybody does it" -- while studiously ignoring the elephant in the room that while "everybody does it," not everybody has the power to stop people from doing it. Only one person does, and that's Obama, through his power as leader of the Democratic Party and through his power of the veto pen.

The President -- and Vice President -- stand unique as having an exclusively federal jurisdiction and national responsibility. Sarah Palin doesn't even have the joint responsibility to state and nation that Senators do -- so how the hell is she even remotely responsible for Obama's failures?

The attempt to spread Obama's personal failure around to hundreds of people who have neither his responsibility, his office, his unique jurisdiction, or his constitutional power is yet another example of the MSM attempting to cover for him. The MSM did everything in their power to deny Sarah Palin the federal jurisdiction of Vice President, but now they're insisting that she act as if she won that.

Nukes: Say the US suddenly comes out for full, complete nuclear disarmament. Russia and China refuses. Should the US give up its own nukes to prove itself not a "hypocrite"?

Of course not -- one is not a hypocrite if one argues for a position, which must be agreed to jointly, that fails, and then one continues to abide by the terms of the actually-existing regime. The US never (in this hypothetical) said it would be preferable if it alone gave it nukes -- it argued that it would be preferable if everyone gave up nukes. It's childishly dishonest to read the proposition "We must all give up our nukes" as "Our nation alone should give up nukes," and then claim hypocrisy when that nation does not.

Same deal with any particular Senator urging, say, an end to the home mortgage deduction as unnecessary. If his proposition fails (which of course it would), is he required to give up his own mortgage deduction? Why would he? He argued that a different system was better, and he lost on that fight. But he was arguing that a different system was better. He never argued the country's fortunes would be improved if he personally, and solely, gave up his own mortgage deduction.

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posted by Ace at 01:25 PM

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