I'm on the road and there's one thing that's clear: Earmarks are as American as apple pie.
Dino Rossi, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Washington, has attacked earmarks and has criticized Patty Murray generally as a purveyor of pork. But America is paved with pork. Literally.
Traveling east on I-90 you are on part of the federal interstate system. As you go, you see signs announcing Air Force bases, National Forests, Grand Coulee Dam, and the Columbia Basin Reclamation project, which is part of the foundation of the agricultural abundance of Washington's most Republican counties. Across the West there are parks, national monuments, irrigation projects, power grids, highway rest areas, schools, museums, bridges, all of which were funded all or in part with your federal tax dollars.
The success of the economy of Washington is only partly based on the free market. Without the massive investment in infrastructure and military spending, we'd be a Third World state.
One can debate the wisdom of spending proposals, or the fairness of allocations, but federal largess is woven into every state at basic levels. Yes, there are "bridges to nowhere," but often the bridges lead to very real somewheres.
If Dino Rossi were elected and opposed federal spending and earmarks in Washington state, he would be committing political malfeasance.
Another observation from the road in Arizona: The least civil, most aggressive, most obnoxious drivers are big-trucked yahoos who think speed limits, tailgating prohibitions and other traffic laws don't apply. You would think people who want less government would be exemplars of how human behavior is more civil with less of it, but the ideals of Rousseau are not apparent on the highways.
Why is it that libertarians often make the worst case for libertarianism?