The proposed earmark moratorium that the Republican Senate caucus will vote on tomorrow has pitted Oklahoma’s two conservative senators against one another. “Republicans can send a signal that they get it,” earmark opponent Tom Coburn tells THE WEEKLY STANDARD. “Or they can send a signal that they continue to not get it and say they’re not going to change. And if they do that, they’re going to pay for it at the ballot box.”
Should Republicans who oppose the moratorium be worried about a primary challenge? “You bet,” says Coburn. “They sure should.”
“If you can’t fix earmarks, you’re never going to fix the other problems that are wrong with this country.”
But earmark supporter Jim Inhofe says that earmarks have been demagogued–abolishing them, he says, wouldn’t save money and would cede Congress’s constitutional spending authority to the executive branch. In an interview with THE WEEKLY STANDARD, Inhofe blasted the proposed earmark moratorium as the “Obama-DeMint-McCain” plan and said it doesn’t matter if Republicans suffer electoral consequences. “If that’s the result, it’s the result of people saying things that are dishonest, which I can’t do,” says Inhofe. The alternative to supporting earmarks “would be to join in the untruths,” he says, likening criticism of earmarks to criticism of global warming skepticism.