Last Friday a House Appropriations Committee website was so overwhelmed by legislators' wish lists that it crashed, forcing the committee to extend the deadline for earmark requests until Monday. Most members of Congress seem to think the problem with earmarks is like the problem with the committee's server: not any particular person's demands, just all of them together.
On the face of it, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, John McCain, and the two remaining contenders for the Democratic nomination, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, take a different view: All three supported a one-year moratorium on earmarks that the Senate recently rejected by a wide margin. But only McCain has taken a principled stand against the pet projects that legislators love to slip into spending bills.
"We Republicans came to power in 1994 to change government," McCain told the Riverside, California, Press Enterprise last year, "and the government changed us. That's why we lost the election: We began to value power over principle."
Here's more from Jacob Sullum at Reason Online.