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Bush End Game
George W. Bush's presidency since 2007
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George W. Bush's presidency from 2005-06
George W. Bush's presidency, 2000-04
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Contra drug stories uncovered
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From free trade to the Kosovo crisis.
Supposed Reformer Secured Earmarks
Editor’s Note: When John McCain introduced his VP choice, Sarah Palin, the major U.S. news media parroted the Republican line that the Alaska governor was a reformer who opposed traditional Washington corruption, such as using lobbyists and insiders to secure “earmarked” pork-barrel spending.
However, like much else about Palin, the reality turned out to be quite different, as Brent Budowsky notes in this guest essay:
Now John McCain learns, as we do, that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin sent a 70-page memo to Sen. Ted Stevens, another Alaskan Republican, in February seeking $200 million for new Alaska earmarks. As mayor of the village of Wasilla, she lobbied hard for and won more than $26 million of earmarks.
If you believe Sarah Palin is a reformer, you will believe that the College of Cardinals will summon me to Rome as successor to the pope.
Palin long ago hired the prime pork lobbying firm in Alaska, which features Ted Stevens's son and Ted Stevens's former chief of staff who serviced her pork lobbying account. [See Washington Post, Sept. 1, 2008]
The regular junkets of Palin and her staff to Washington, hustling earmark dough, are legendary in Alaska. Someone will soon add up the airfare, hotel and fine-dining tabs to push for the pork, plus the lobbying fees, all at taxpayer expense, starting with Wasilla, continuing as governor.
It's good Palin was only the mayor of the small village of Wasilla with only 6,700 people. Just think what bacon "pork-barrel Palin" would have brought home as mayor of a real city with hundreds of thousands, or millions, of people.
Do the math. Give her credit — a town of 6,700 people, more than $26 million pieces of pork. When feeding time at the trough arrives, Palin is the real barracuda (her nickname when she was a high school athlete).
This is what happens when an impulsive presidential candidate picks a person he literally does not know, did not vet and thus plays roulette with the future of America.
Who knows what we will learn next? For now I dub her "pork-barrel Palin,” the Super Bowl champ of the earmarks, the Olympic gold medal winner for pork, the World Series star of hiring insider lobbying firms, now part of one of the great false advertising campaigns in presidential campaign history.
Who knows what the 10 McCain vetters, who are now beginning their work, will discover next?
Brent Budowsky was an aide to Sen. Lloyd Bentsen and to Rep. Bill Alexander, then the chief deputy whip of the House. A contributing editor to Fighting Dems News Service, he can be read in The Hill newspaper, where he is a columnist. He can be reached at
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