Yesterday’s defeat of Coburn’s amendment can be viewed as a crushing defeat of blogosphere activism. A wide array of groups from Daily Kos to RedState.org to Club for Growth lobbied furiously to get Senators on both sides of the isle to eliminate huge pork-laden projects like the infamous Bridge to Nowhere. Nominally they were hoping to use the savings to fund the rebuilding of New Orleans, but in reality it was a shot across the bow to see if Congress was ready to start spending wisely. The answer was a resounding ‘No.’
What such activist groups refuse to acknowledge, however, is that Congressmen really don’t’ care what their base thinks - they already have their vote. Do the people at Daily Kos honestly think they have any sway over Hillary Clinton? They couldn’t honestly threaten to support Pirro for Senator, so there can be no retribution.
As long as there are no viable alternatives to the entrenched two party system, politicians will continue to do what it takes to win over the undecideds, which typically means spending as much money in local jurisdictions as possible. Typical recommendations such as term limits are meaningless in this context, if you can’t threaten to vote the bum out for overspending, what is going to stop him anyway? In fact you would probably find MORE pork barrel spending in such a system because paying off local supporters will work amazingly well for post-politics job hunting.
From here we have two possibilities, start supporting third party and independent candidates that support fiscal responsibility or start the process to support a Balanced Budget Amendment. Force the Congressmen to learn that they can’t keep spending money that they don’t have. I personally vote that we do both.