President Obama's speech

Matthew Hoy
By Matthew Hoy on February 25, 2009

I didn't get a chance to listen to all of President Barack Obama's speech to a joint session of Congress last night. In between something I like to call "work" and heading off to see the San Diego State men's basketball team collapse against BYU, I did manage to catch parts of the speech.

Now, I didn't see it, but I thought I heard it. After Obama said:

I'm proud that we passed the recovery plan free of earmarks, and I want to pass a budget next year that ensures that each dollar we spend reflects only our most important national priorities.

I could've sworn there was a round of laughter in the chamber. I assume it came from Republicans. When was the last time a president was laughed at during a joint session of Congress? This isn't the same as a designed laugh line, President Obama has actually tried to peddle this one before as truth.

We're a month into Obama's term and we have yet to see the third-way, post-partisan politican that he campaigned as. We will soon find out if Obama's "no earmarks" lie about the stimulus plan was a one-off, or if it's a systemic problem.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wants the White House to tread lightly on earmarks, saying that any push by the Obama administration to clamp down on pet projects would be met with strong opposition from congressional leaders.

"We cannot let spending be done by a bunch of nameless, faceless bureaucrats," Reid said, arguing that lawmakers are much more in tune with federal money needs for their states than agencies in Washington.

If the earmarking continues, look for the bloom to come off Obama's rose and Republicans to do a reprise of 1994.

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