Something that’s long puzzled me is the idea that bringing more transparency to the earmark process would reduce earmarking. John McCain spent the summer of 2008 running around the country promising to name-and-shame earmarkers. “I’ll make them famous,” was one of his lines. But getting famous is the whole idea. I noticed earlier today that Ben Nelson’s website dramatizes this in a particularly clear way:
The thing that would reduce earmarking would be the reverse of transparency. If you couldn’t brag to your constituents about all the bacon you’d brought home, then there’d be less reason for members to spend their time on it.