It's how politics works, but it's still pretty galling.
House Democratic leaders have directed tens of millions of dollars in federal funds to the districts of vulnerable incumbents, including many conservative Blue Dogs who typically stress fiscal restraint.
Nearly $200 million worth of earmarks has gone to members of the Blue Dog Coalition — including $150 million in the military construction appropriations bill and over $44 million in the transportation bill. The biggest winner so far is Rep. Bobby Bright (Ala.), who comes from a district with a heavy Republican advantage in voter registration. He won eight earmarks in the two spending bills worth more than $76 million....
“Supporting worthwhile projects for your district and advocating for deficit reduction are not mutually exclusive,” Bright told The Hill.
“I would challenge anyone to make the case that securing crucial funding for vital military installations in my district is not a worthwhile use of taxpayer dollars. Even though earmarks represent a very small fraction of federal spending, I scrutinize each one very seriously and am fiscally responsible with my requests.”
Some Blue Dogs, such as Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.), do not request earmarks. But many others do, and with good success.
Recipients include Reps. Baron Hill (D-Ind.), Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-S.D.) and Zack Space (D-Ohio), all of whom come from districts with a Republican voter registration advantage.
Herseth Sandlin won $3.6 million that Obama did not request for aircraft maintenance shops, and Hill got $1.25 million for interstate maintenance and bus facilities. They are both members of the House Democratic Blue Dog leadership team.
Apparently unemployment insurance extensions are not worthwhile to Bobby Bright. Nor was the 9/11 Health and Compensation Act to assist the victims and heroes of 9/11. Nor was Wall Street Reform, nor disaster relief and summer jobs, nor transportation funding, small business lending, the Affordable Care Act, and on and on and on.