Show Me the Money
With personal bickering between the Clinton and Obama campaigns now at a level sufficient to make even the most jaded political observer beg for a renewed focus on the issues, I was relieved to come across something today that could actually have substantive implications for the presidential race, in the area of fiscal policy. Barack Obama has now released his list of federal earmark requests for 2005 and 2006, having already done so for 2007. Today’s move provides the Obama campaign with a legitimate opportunity to renew its call for greater transparency in government, particularly since Hillary Clinton, a top-10 recipient last year of earmarked dollars in the Senate, has yet to disclose any of her own requests.
Anyone who regularly follows presidential politics is undoubtedly familiar with John McCain’s crusade against the earmarking of federal dollars. It has been a central component of both his 2000 and 2008 presidential campaigns. McCain has long viewed the practice as an invitation to wasteful “pork barrel” spending and influence peddling, and he prides himself on having submitted no earmark requests of his own.
Hillary Clinton has also talked about the importance of fiscal responsibility. She often promotes it on the campaign trail, as a means of ensuring the financial viability of her domestic policy agenda. So, while all three candidates appear to be in agreement on the need to curtail earmarking in the future, Clinton may find herself as the odd candidate out on the issue of full disclosure in this critical policy domain. That would certainly put her at a disadvantage against John McCain in November.

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