They No Likee

by digby

For some reason "conservatives" don't like the budget and it's very hard to understand. They say they are very concerned about costs, but back when trillions were being spent on a useless war in Iraq year after year( millions of it "lost" just sitting around by the pallet load in the Emerald City) they didn't blink an eye. So it's pretty clear they don't mind deficit spending, its just deficit spending that actually benefits Americans they object to. Good to know.

Wizbang: Change we can deceive
Michelle Malkin: Spendzilla! Fun facts about Obama’s budget-busting budget
Power Line: Soak the Rich!
Power Line: Obama’s Budget: The Beginning of the End?
RedState: What Will Obama’s Budget Cost You? $25,573.48…EACH!
Hot Air: The Obama plan: massive tax hikes
Hugh Hewitt: Soaking The Rich Means Crippling Churches, Charities, and Home Values
Patterico's Pontifications: Obama’s Budget: What the [String of Expletives Deleted]ing [Still More Deleted]
National Review Online - The Corner: I Don’t Want To Pay For It
National Review Online - The Corner: Over $1 Trillion in Tax Increases

Very,very shrill.

Speaking of which, Paul Krugman (who likees the budget very much) wrote the other day that the Republicans had become the party of Beavis and Butthead, reduced to pulling out funny-sounding budget items to mock. I agree, naturally, but I think the press has an awful lot to do with it as well. They looove that stuff.

And yesterday, a funny thing happened. Here's Jack Cafferty, obviously thinking he was going to get a bunch of outraged responses to the "crazy" spending in the budget:

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: The House of Representatives passed a $410 billion spending bill. It is loaded with pork, courtesy of both parties.

"The New York Times" reports one watchdog group says the bill includes $8 billion for more than 8,500 pet projects. Among them are these: $1.7 million for a honey bee laboratory in Texas; $1.5 million for work on grapes and grape products, including wine -- this is my favorite -- $1.8 million to research swine odor and manure management in Iowa. They could do the same research in Washington, D.C.

Smaller-ticket items include asparagus research in Washington State; wool research in Montana, Texas and Wyoming; rodent control in Hawaii; and on and on and on.

Democrats earmarked about $40 million for the presidential libraries of FDR, John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. The bill even include earmarks requested by some lawmakers who are no longer members of Congress.

Republicans pounced on the bill as wasteful, pointing out it comes just after the White House held that summit on fiscal responsibility. Democrats point out 40 percent of all the earmarks are things that were requested by Republicans.

Democratic Congressmen David Obey of Wisconsin defended these earmarks, saying that they were fully disclosed and a small part of the overall bill. And he added that without them, "... the White House and its anonymous bureaucrats would control all spending." House and Senate Democrats have already agreed on this bill, although Republican senators could try to cut out some of the pork when it gets debated in the Senate.

As for the White House, one official says, "It's a big document and we're still reviewing it."

Here's the question: Are earmarks a necessary evil or just plain evil?

This is what he reported later in the show:

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Wolf, the question this hour is, are earmarks a necessary evil or are they just plain evil?

S. in Michigan: "It depends on what ends up being called an earmark and who labels it as such. For the state or city getting the money, it is progress money or an investment. For others, it becomes pork, or an earmark, et cetera. For example, for Bobby Jindal, the governor of Louisiana, monitoring volcanoes is an earmark, but, for Alaskans, monitoring hurricanes may be earmarks. So, should we stop doing both?"

Kevin writes: "Earmarks can be wasteful or incredibly valuable, just like any type of spending. Let's look at one of your examples: $1.7 million for honeybee research. This seems silly at first glance. But when you recall that there appears to be something wiping out the honeybee population, and that these bees are necessary for crops, like apples, peaches, soybeans, pears, pumpkins, cucumbers, cherries, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries, then it quickly starts looking like maybe we ought to be spending more money on this research."

Susan in Idaho: "If earmarks are necessary, we better change the way we do business in all levels of politics. The time for responsible spending is way past due. Pet projects are taking food away from the hungry and jobs away from those who, by no fault of their own, have lost them."

Ed in Iowa writes: "Here in Iowa, we're sure in need of some swine odor and manure management. And I can tell you that for darn sure, since I live downwind to several hog farms. What you don't understand when you make fun of this is that it's a huge problem. Pigs are big business here. Their manure could be used for fertilizer and biofuels, instead of just polluting the air and the water. It is a smart investment that will pay off in clean air, clean water, cheap food, and jobs."

And B.D. in Boise, Idaho: "The 40 percent that the Republicans want are pure evil. The 60 percent that the Democrats want are absolutely necessary. Or is it the other way around? We're handing out so much money these days, it is easy to forget which side of the aisle you're really on."

If you didn't see your e-mail here, you can go to my blog,, and look for yours there, among hundreds of others -- Wolf.

Obviously, the answers were chosen by Cafferty, so it doesn't mean anything. Perhaps he got schooled a little bit by his viewers or maybe this is what he meant to do all along, but his second segment indicated that there is, at least, some indication that the wingnut Beavis and Buttheads aren't quite as entertaining as they used to be.

Perhaps an awareness is growing about the value of government, or maybe just a willingness to speak out about it. Either way it would truly be a sea change after 30 years of snotty Reaganite dismissiveness. That's big.