Press, Democrats got taken for a ride by a Pig

Often times I’ve served up criticism of the Montana press, for being apathetic, lazy, stupid, incompetent, corrupt, and, in some cases, conservative leaning due to right-wing corporate ownership. Well, here is another serving from that platter.

In late March, you might recall, Denny Rehberg announced in the press that he was “swearing off earmarks.” AP Reporter Matt Gouras presented the matter quite fairly. It was major news. Rehberg then set out on a campaign to remind voters that he does not believe in earmarks, or wasteful pork barrel spending generally.

It turns that two weeks after Rehberg got on the wagon and gave up earmarks, another news item quietly broke (or, at least, it was quiet in Montana). It was that the conservative group Citizens Against Government Waste had come out with its annual “Pig Book”, which ranks members of Congress based on how wasteful they are with taxpayer money, based on the number of earmarks they write.

And who do you think the Pig Book ranked as Number One Pig in Congress? You got it, Denny Rehberg, with the most earmarks (88) for fiscal year 2010 in the entire House of Representatives.

It went unreported by the Montana press and, I might add, unnoticed by all of Rehberg’s Democratic opponents and the entire universe of Democratic staffers, operatives and politicians in Montana who all should be seeing to it that Rehberg is held responsible for the incredible amount of bullshit that he delivers.

When the Pig Book news came and went without a single blip in Montana, it must have delighted the Congressman. Had the Press followed up, they’d have figured out that when the Congressman made his declaration about earmarks, he was not only a pig, but a cat, who had swallowed a canary, and had a few bits of yellow feathers stuck in that greasy mustache of his.

UPDATE: Dan Testa is the first Montana reporter to have the story. Like Mr. Gouras on the earmark story, Mr. Testa presents the information fairly. Go check it out, he’s got Rehberg’s take on whether his temporary earmark ban will even do anything.


14 Comments on "Press, Democrats got taken for a ride by a Pig"

  1. Come on now, how in the f did we not know about this. Seriously. Who’s on first?

  2. snapples blankenship | August 3, 2010 8:51 PM at 8:51 PM |

    What will the Tea Party say? Rehberg just joined the Tea Party caucus…..Huh? How is he going to square that with the screaming masses in the Tea Party who don’t like all that pork? Oink…oink….oink!

  3. Is Rehberg going to get teabagged?

  4. St. John's Wart | August 4, 2010 8:09 PM at 8:09 PM |

    This settles the question about whether Gernant, Gopher or McDonald was the better candidate. The answer is, none of the above.

  5. First of all, earmarks themselves are very transparent. An earmark is not a general appropriation to a government agency to fund the director’s agenda and the bureaucracy that comes with it; it is a funding mechanism for a specific task or project. Some examples of earmarks brought forth by the Congressman in recent years – $1.5 million for the new interchange in Belgrade, $3.6 million for animal research in Bozeman, more than $30 million for water rights and water improvements on Indian Reservations in Montana, $200,000 to the Rocky Mountain Development Council for affordable housing, and $250,000 for a sexual assault examination nurse at the Billings Clinic. I think these are all things we need here in Montana and I don’t think Cowgirl would disagree with me. Congressman Rehberg understands that here in Montana there are problems we cannot solve without raising state property or income taxes – why not use that 30% of our income we send to Washington every year to help out the folks at home?

    I am not saying that all earmarks are good, but here in Montana we see what earmarks can do for us everyday – infrastructure, conservation, and education. In the current times of soaring national deficits, why don’t we cut some real pork that won’t hurt progress in our state? Before we end, we shouldn’t forget about our Senator Tester, in the ’06 Burns/Tester debate the Senator said something to the effect of, “I will not support one earmark, period.” Since 2008 he has supported over $300 million in earmarks. Come on Cowgirl, before you go making a petty political attack because Denny tried to make a point about out of control spending, do a little research.

    You can read a more complete analysis at

  6. tpaine – Rehberg was the king of earmarks, then he went around saying how great he was because he was “swearing off” them. The point is his hypocritical attempts to have it both ways.

    • George 3 – I realize what cowgirl was trying to say and the point I made at the end about Sen Tester shows that no one in Congress is innocent when it comes to earmarks. I was trying to take the discussion in a different direction and get some substantive debate on the topic of earmark spending instead of bickering about who is more hypocritical.

      • Welcome tpaine. New commenters and new perspectives are welcome and help keep it interesting.

      • Yes, but Rehberg is the only number one biggest pig. That’s why it is so utterly stupid that the Democrats are not making something about this. Yes, other elected federal officials have secured funding for Montana projects but (1) they are not the king of pork, Rehberg is and (2) they did not go around saying how terrible earmarks are, Rehberg did. You Democrats are really, really thick-skulled.

  7. Ok New Flash Denny Rehberg is not a conservative nor was GW Bush. When I think of conservatives I think of the people on main street and the people in the hills of Montana who have to be tight with their money and make the buffalo beller and the dollar hollar. Second we have alot of the quoat unquoat conservatives that think the definition of conservatism is Ill spend every dam dime of your money but not one dam dime of my money. Or if you wana make it make sense more its we only spend working peoples money and leave the rich alone. As far as Denny getting these earmarks Im not supprised after all were taking about a guy who sues his neighbors for a bunch of dried up sagebrush burning. So if hes a conservative then I looked at the stars last night going down I 94 so I must be an astronut

  8. Cowgirl,

    I feel your pain.

    I mentioned it on my facebook page “DumpDennyRehberg” on July 22nd, in response to his one minute speech on the House floor on July 21st, calling for an earmark moratorium and a spending freeze. In the video he accuses Ds of jacking up spending before they call for a freeze in 2011. The irony (and hypocrisy) is that Denny jacked up his earmark requests, going from supporting 42 mil in ’09 to 105 mil in ’10, before he called for an earmark moratorium. “Denny Rehberg sponsored or co-sponsored 89 earmarks totalling $103,514,200 in fiscal year 2010 ranking 5th out of 435 representatives.”

    McDonald is going to say something about it in the late-august debate in Butte, if Rehberg shows up. Rumors are that Rehberg will skip it.

    Tpaine describes the benefits of earmarks and goes on to say others abuse the process as well. Fair points (though I’ll like to see the citation for Tester’s supposed proclamation).

    Yet, increasing your earmark support by 60% before you call on all others to end the process — while at the same time calling out other people while you engage in the very same actions — make you one thing: a disingenuous liar.

    It’s time to vote the liar out of office.



    PS: Nice hat!

    • Dump Denny, I apologize that your comment was delayed in appearing. There is some setting on this blog template that required comment approval for posts with more than two links that I haven’t get figured out how to change.

  9. “Earmarks” are two things – an important tool in which public funds are routed to deserving local needs, and as often to undeserving private pockets.

    “Earmarks” are also a wedge issue. When anyone running for office, they speak of earmarks as money wasted for someone else’s use. It’s just talk, not meant to be taken seriously by anyone but voters, who are easily manipulated by such mechanism.

    Earmarks will never go away.

    The “media” is not the watchdog you think they ought to be, as they, just like the politicians, are subject to oversight by moneyed interests. Do not ask of them what they cannot deliver, and do not harp on them for not being what you think they should be. Journalism, as practiced in American, is just another game.

    This is all just politics, practiced on both sides, each one thinking the other corrupt, both being correct.

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