10.01.2008 0

A Time for Straight-Talk on Change

  • On: 10/09/2008 13:26:03
  • In: Fiscal Responsibility
  • Barack Obama’s message of change has resonated with voters across the country, and John McCain’s “Straight Talk Express” bus has picked up passengers nationwide. Both candidates have gone to great lengths to appear to personify and practice what they preach. Unfortunately for taxpayers, however, some of Mr. Obama’s “changes” have come a bit too late, and some of Mr. McCain’s “straight-talk” has been decidedly crooked.

    Take their positions on earmarks. Barack Obama’s website touts his supposed opposition to wasteful government spending and pork-barrel earmarks, as does Mr. McCain’s. But the senators have not always been so passionate about protecting taxpayer money, nor watchful enough of the actions of those who say they support them.

    As ALG News previously reported, Obama had released his requested earmarks earlier in the year, revealing an enormous $300 million that he had requested. As he hit the campaign trail, though, he began to sound the new tune of fiscal discipline and government ethics.

    But before this “change,” Barack Obama’s earmark history is anything but ethical. Obama lobbied for earmarks to benefit campaign donors, including $5.9 million to a museum that not only donated to his campaign, but has several of his supporters on its board of directors. Mr. Obama also requested $8 million for a defense contractor to whom he has close financial and political ties.

    Additionally, the first-term senator’s support of the pork-laden farm bill does not bode well for the veracity of his promise of “change.”

    McCain did better in ALG’s previous report, requesting a grand total of $0. He has campaigned against pork-barrel spending for years. And he has even gone to the point of vowing to kill any bill containing earmarks that reaches the oval office, if elected in 2008. But appearances can be deceiving.

    Just five years ago, the Arizona senator pushed a $14.3 million earmark into a defense bill, which benefited past – and future – campaign contributors. And he has taken in substantial amounts of money from lobbyists, causing some embarrassing moments in his campaign.

    While ALG always applauds real reformers who have mended their ways, it now appears “straight talk” and “change” must join “read my lips, no new taxes” on history’s ash-heap of failed campaign promises.

    ALG Perspective: Senators Obama and McCain, while saying the right campaign rhetoric, fall miserably short of their own standards when it comes to how they actually manage the hard-earned taxpayer dollars entrusted to them. They owe the voters an explanation for failing to match their words to their deeds. And this time, let’s have a little straight talk – for a change.

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