Charles Krauthammer: The Fierce Urgency of Pork

From the Washington Post, and you really should read the whole thing.

But what made this case intolerable was the perfectly legal dealings that amassed Daschle $5.2 million in just two years.

He’d been getting $1 million per year from a law firm. But he’s not a lawyer, nor a registered lobbyist. You don’t get paid this kind of money to instruct partners on the Senate markup process. You get it for picking up the phone and peddling influence.

And yet more damaging to Obama’s image than all the hypocrisies in the appointment process is his signature bill: the stimulus package.

It’s not just pages and pages of special-interest tax breaks, giveaways and protections, one of which would set off a ruinous Smoot-Hawley trade war. It’s not just the waste, such as the $88.6 million for new construction for Milwaukee Public Schools, which, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, have shrinking enrollment, 15 vacant schools and, quite logically, no plans for new construction.

It’s the essential fraud of rushing through a bill in which the normal rules (committee hearings, finding revenue to pay for the programs) are suspended on the grounds that a national emergency requires an immediate job-creating stimulus — and then throwing into it hundreds of billions that have nothing to do with stimulus, that Congress’s own budget office says won’t be spent until 2011 and beyond, and that are little more than the back-scratching, special-interest, lobby-driven parochialism that Obama came to Washington to abolish. He said.

Not just to abolish but to create something new — a new politics where the moneyed pork-barreling and corrupt logrolling of the past would give way to a bottom-up, grass-roots participatory democracy. That is what made Obama so dazzling and new. Turns out the “fierce urgency of now” includes $150 million for livestock (and honeybee and farm-raised fish) insurance.

The Age of Obama begins with perhaps the greatest frenzy of old-politics influence peddling ever seen in Washington.

After Obama’s miraculous 2008 presidential campaign, it was clear that at some point the magical mystery tour would have to end. The nation would rub its eyes and begin to emerge from its reverie. The hallucinatory Obama would give way to the mere mortal. The great ethical transformations promised would be seen as a fairy tale that all presidents tell — and that this president told better than anyone.

I thought the awakening would take six months. It took two and a half weeks.

3 Comments

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3 responses to “Charles Krauthammer: The Fierce Urgency of Pork

  1. Anonymous

    A new acquaintance told me that she thinks Obama is the ‘second coming’, he’s just getting bad advice. It may take three weeks for her…..

  2. anonymous

    Upside of this historic economy is that we may need to only suffer a one-term former community organizer…who got a “special” subsidy from a “donor” to buy his Chicago house…and a Cabinet full of tax cheats seeking to impose taxes on everyone else

  3. greenmtnpunter

    We told you so, many times, over and over,but you didn’t listen. Nancy Pelosi, that totally moronic woman from the failed Lala land known as California, is calling the shots. Obama hardly looks in command, Putin must be laughing at what a pushover he is.

    After two and a half weeks, it is quite apparent that Obama, poor chap, is just a figurehead along for the ride, the guy from central casting who learns his lines quickly, looks and sounds the part, but like so many Hollywood types can’t handle anything not in the script.

    It’s depressing. Up here in the frozen North Country, we keep thinking a stimulus bill deal coupled with a long overdue thaw just might kick start sales in 2009. Everybody will think things are just groovy once the pork barrel starts to roll and we’ll have a boomlet until the next debacle unfolds.
    I know, call me an optimist.