Skip to main content

People Don't Care (Much) About Pork

The conservative blogosphere today is up in arms over some video of Sen. Chuck Schumer discussing American attitudes towards pork.

I think this is once again conservatives believing that conservative media is some kind of serious proxy for what Americans actually think. It isn't. They convinced themselves that they lost in 2006 and 2008 due to pork, and that's just ludicrous. They lost because of war and the economy.

People don't like the government to overspend, they hate stories about $100 dollar hammers and the like. But at the end of the day people send their representatives to Washington to stand up for their home state and district in much of the government's appropriations process. Show me a pol who doesn't bring home "pork" and I'll show you a pol whose seat is in danger.

Is that a license for politicians to spend the public money like the proverbial drunken sailor? Of course not. But the largest democracy also can't seriously act like the skinflint conservative mythology has built up.

I detest waste, fraud, and abuse from the government - but lets not pretend that for the American people that "pork" is held with the same disgust that misguided war, corporate malfeasance, economic collapse, or careless leadership is.

I know its futile trying to get conservatives to think about these issues in any way more complex than "government = bad" but try for once in your lives.