04 March 2009

Could the Tide Be Turning?

In February of 1968, after seeing Walter Cronkite essentially call the Viet Nam war unwinable, President Lyndon Johnson is reported to have said "That’s it. If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost middle America.”

I wonder if, 40 years later, President Obama is having a similar feeling today; the part of Walter Cronkite is now played by soon-to-be-lost(?) Maureen Dowd:

Team Obama sounds hollow, chanting that “the status quo is not acceptable,” even while conceding that the president is accepting the status quo by signing a budget festooned with pork.

Obama spinners insist it was “a leftover budget.” But Iraq was leftover, too, and the president’s trying to end that. This is the first pork-filled budget from a new president who promised to go through the budget “line by line” and cut pork.

It includes $38.4 million of earmarks sponsored or co-sponsored by President Obama’s labor secretary, Hilda Solis; $109 million Hillary Clinton signed on to; and $31.2 million in earmarks sought by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood with colleagues. (Even Barack Obama was listed as one of the co-sponsors of a $7.7 million pet project for Tribally Controlled Postsecondary Vocational Institutions until he got his name taken off last week.)

And then there are the 16 earmarks worth $8.5 million that Emanuel put into the bill when he was a congressman, including money for streets in Chicago suburbs and a Chicago planetarium.

Maureen Dowd is showing classic symptoms of buyer's remorse. So are we in for four to eight years of lying or what?

During the 2008 Presidential campaign, Obama promised he would not sign any spending or budget bill with "pork barrel" earmarks -- the Congressional pet projects that bloat virtually every spending bill that emerges from the House and Senate. That was then. This is now and now administration officials say Obama will sign a budget bill packed with pork.

So much for change.

No comments: