I sure hope so, since it was only last fall. But the crusade to ban earmarks in Congress is incredibly relevant to our current political climate. Perhaps not as a matter of procedure, but as a matter of public policy in relation to governing ideology. Let me explain.
So when the new congress got to its first real battle: a budget resolution for 2011: they abandoned the principle behind banning earmarks (the clarity argument) in favor of political games and fights that don’t pertain to the budget (including the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and Planned Parenthood). And as soon as a compromise was reached, the first statements out of the leadership involved what “deals” could be made over raising the debt limit and the 2012 budget. Instead of voting on the principal matter: the debt limit: Republicans hope to “get something out of the deal”. Isn’t this the very problem with earmarks? And if one is going to hold such a double-standard, shouldn’t they be held responsible for it?
It is not “politics as usual” when the governing ideology of one side refuses to fairly trust in compromise. It is a politics of cynicism and nihilism: two qualities needed least in our leaders.