Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander sponsored or co-sponsored 40 requests totaling $83.2 million in 2009, by far the most of any member of the Tennessee delegation.
Republican Sen. Bob Corker put his name on 23 projects totaling $60.8 million, followed by Rep. Zach Wamp, R-Chattanooga, with 14 projects valued at $38.6 million. In Middle Tennessee, Rep. John Tanner, D-Union City, won $25.6 million worth of projects; Rep. Lincoln Davis, D-Pall Mall, had $23.1 million; and Rep. Bart Gordon, D-Murfreesboro, had $9.7 million.
More than half the value of the Tennessee projects came from requests sponsored by one or more members who, on final passage, voted against the funding bills containing the projects.
So now they get to take credit for being “fiscally responsible” by voting against the bills, and reap the rewards of the local “pork” they loaded them with. Sweet!
Look, I don’t have anything against earmarks in principle, and I don’t know the specifics of these projects that Alexander, Corker, Wamp, et. al. funded. For all I know, they’re worthwhile investments. I just think it’s a little hypocritical for Republicans and Blue Dog Dems to treat earrmarks as a big negative when liberal Democrats supposedly use them, then use them themselves and hide the evidence. It’s a little wishy washy.