Saturday, December 18, 2010
In recent weeks Sen. E. (Earl? Earmark?) Benjamin Nelson has become quite defensive about his support for federal earmarks. Every other member of Nebraska's congressional delegation--including his fellow Senator Mike Johanns--has announced his support for a ban on earmarks. Sen. Johanns put it best: the current earmark process is "simply not open, transparent or merit-based."
And where does Sen. Nelson--the architect of the Cornhusker Kickback--stand? Firmly on the side of business-as-usual.
Nelson has attempted to portray his support for this antiquated form of political cronyism as fighting for Nebraska's share of the federal pie. What Nelson doesn't tell us is that in order for him to get federal money for the National Wild Turkey Federation, he has to agree to support the pork submitted by other Senators, including bridges to nowhere. And apparently he's more than happy to cut that deal.
Let's decide the issue once and for all. Potential Republican Senate candidate Attorney General Jon Bruning has come out firmly in opposition to earmarks, and I'm quite confident that every Republican candidate for Nebraska's Senate seat will as well. The November 2012 election can be a referendum on the earmarks and backroom deals that have become the hallmark of Nelson's time in public office.
On November 6, 2012, Nebraska voters can decide whether they approve of the current federal earmark process and deals like the Cornhusker Kickback. If they support business-as-usual, they should vote for Sen. Nelson. If they oppose these practices and want more transparency and integrity in Congress, they should vote for the Republican nominee.