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Santorum and Earmarks

Ginger's Corner touches on topics discussed in the "10 items or less" line at Cronig's, Stop 'n Shop and Reliable: Here is a guide to understanding campaign speak.

Now that presidential hopeful Rick Santorum has trounced frontrunner Mitt Romney in Tuesday’s GOP nominating contests in Minnesota, Missouri and Colorado, look for the Romney camp to start an attack campaign on Santorum about “earmarks.”  In an effort to stay “cutting edge” on campaign speak we looked it up.

In United States politics, an earmark is a legislative (especially congressional) provision that directs approved funds to be spent on specific projects, or that directs specific exemptions from taxes or mandated fees.

Earmarks come in two varieties: Hard earmarks, or "Hardmarks," found in legislation and Soft earmarks, or "Softmarks" found in the text of congressional committee reports. Hard earmarks are binding and have the effect of law; soft earmarks do not have the effect of law but by custom are acted upon as if they were binding. Typically, a legislator seeks to insert earmarks that direct a specified amount of money to a particular organization or project in their home state or district. Earmarks may be considered synonymous with "pork barrel" legislation, although the two are not necessarily the same. 

A prime example is the Gravina Island Bridge (a controversial topic of the 2008 campaigns) commonly referred to as the "Bridge to Nowhere.” It was a proposed bridge to replace the ferry that currently connects the town of Ketchikan, Alaska, with Gravina Island, an island, which contains the Ketchikan Int’l Airport as well as 50 residents. The bridge was projected to cost $398 million. Members of the Alaskan congressional delegation, particularly Rep. Don Young and Sen. Ted Stevens, were the bridge's biggest advocates in Congress, and helped push for federal funding.  The project encountered fierce opposition outside of Alaska as a symbol of pork barrel spending and is labeled as one of the more prominent "bridges to nowhere.” It was never built.

As Vineyarders, we can relate. We have our own drawbridge that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. We could use a bridge from the Vineyard to Woods Hole, come to that, but there would be a great hue and cry from the residents about bringing in the riff raff  “from away.”

Oh, well, just sayin.

 

 

 

 

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On and On Anon February 10, 2012 at 01:33 AM
What's your point?
Ginger Martin Duarte February 10, 2012 at 04:18 AM
Ignorance isn't bliss.
Ginger Martin Duarte February 10, 2012 at 04:19 AM
That ignorance is not bliss.
Jason Peringer February 11, 2012 at 12:52 AM
The politics of today have become so far from the "common man" that I have to wonder when the last time a "blue collar" worker has made it to Congress, let alone the White House. To say I am disenfranchised would be an understatement; I have never voted for either a Democrat or a Republican for any federal office in my 24 years of voting eligibility. I have never missed an opportunity to vote, either. These "earmarks" will continue as part and parcel of daily politics as long as there remains a "Party Agenda" for two that has so stagnated that the political waters they shall remain fetid until change occurs, one way or another. Will there ever be a viable third party in U.S. politics?

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