Todd Akin is a charter member, as we have noted, of the House Tea Party caucus, which was founded, according to its leader, Michele Bachmann (R-MN), to give voice to those who are “sick of government over-spending.” Consequently, caucus members might be expected to observe the voluntary earmarks ban instated by House GOP members. However, according to the National Journal, during the 111th congress, caucus member Akin requested nine earmarks worth over 14 million dollars. Other Tea Party caucus members requested even more – all told, caucus members’requests totaled over $1 billion dollars – but Akin’s tally certainly isn’t chicken-feed all by itself – especially for a legislator who piously (emphasis on pious) intones (and intones) about government spending.
Akin’s spending hypocrisy is hardly news though – what’s more interesting is the gap between general GOP spending rhetoric and behavior. ThinkProgress observes that in spite of the use of the term “earmark” as a Pavlovian trigger, few GOPers seem to worry too much abut them when they’re not directly observed, noting that “an earmark ban was also conspicuously absent from House Republicans’ Pledge to American [sic] governing agenda.” Of course the specifically Tea Party nature of the earmarks noted above might suggest that in practical, legislative terms the Tea Party label doesn’t stand for much more than a hell-raising good time for those repressed middle-agers with anger management problems.