OMT One Man's Trash...from Norman Leahy

Wednesday, December 27, 2006 :::

The Pork Lifeline

David Keating points to a New York Times story on how pork -- once and still considered to be an incumbent's strongest lifeline -- failed to rescue a number of congressional Republicans this year.

David points out a number of juicy examples, but this is the item that really made me wonder if the GOP has learned anything from November's losses. Regarding Rep. Jeff Flake's contention that pork actually hurt incumbents, an NRCC spokesmodel said:

“Bringing federal projects home to a district helps an incumbent — period,” said Carl Forti, a spokesman for the National Republican Campaign Committee. “Jeff Flake is totally misreading the results.”

He said Mr. Taylor and another member of the Appropriations Committee, Don Sherwood, Republican of Pennsylvania, had lost because of personal problems. Ms. Northup, he said, “was just in a bad district — it’s always been tight.”

He attributed Indiana’s three losses to poorly run campaigns.

But Mr. Flake cited his own state as proof that pork does not ensure re-election. A fellow Arizona Republican member who had embraced earmarks, Representative J. D. Hayworth, lost his seat.

“In the end, the voters saw through it,” Mr. Flake said.

Mr. Forti attributed Mr. Hayworth’s loss to running a single-issue campaign, against immigration.

To be fair, earmarks alone probably ended no incumbent's political career. But it's also probably fair to say that bringing home the bacon isn't as popular as it once might have been. That someone from the NRCC wouldn't even admit this possibility is stunning. Have the campaign committees really learned nothing from November's results? In some news-proof cubicles, it seems so.

::: posted by Norman Leahy at 12/27/2006 2 comments


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