Hey Big Spender


Citizens Against Government Waste has anointed Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) Porker of the Year for 2003, based on an online poll that asked respondents to choose among five finalists. Specter, you may recall, "was selected as the October Porker of the Month for including language in the fiscal 2003 Emergency Supplemental portion of the fiscal 2004 Legislative Branch Appropriations Act that provided $1.4 million for three pork-barrel projects in Pennsylvania."

I grew up in Northeastern Pennsylvania, home of such legendary pork-barrel spenders as Reps. Dan Flood (D) and Joseph McDade (R). I found that Specter at least had a sense of humor about funneling tax dollars to his constituents. When I was working for my hometown paper in the late '80s, he visited a postal processing center (I think) in Wilkes-Barre that was threatened with closure. After walking around the facility for a few minutes, he announced that it was indispensable and that he would do everything in his power to keep it open. I suggested that it was hard to believe he could arrive at that conclusion based on a five-minute tour. He corrected me: It was more like 10 minutes.