The Muncie Star-Press thinks Rep. Mike PenceMike (Michael) Richard PenceWebb: After the debate Overnight Energy: Judges scrutinize Obama climate rule The Trail 2016: The fallout MORE (R-Ind.) should take a break from anti-earmark crusading to help out his district.
In an editorial this weekend, the paper called on Pence to drop his no-earmark pledge and request some federal dollars set to be appropriated in the transportation authorization bill.
"In a perfect world, Pence's stance would be worthy of support by all taxpayers," the editors wrote. "In a district filled with crumbling infrastructure, unemployment and a declining tax base, desperately in need of economic development, Pence's stand sounds good in principle but not in practice."
The transportation authorization bill is a huge source of pork (or useful appropriations, depending on your opinion.) Billions of dollars in funding for bridges, roads and highways are doled out, helping improve infrastructure and create at least temporary jobs.
As the Star-Press notes, if Pence does not make requests to direct Indiana's portion of the money to his district, the Indiana Department of Transportation will decide what projects in his district gets funds. And when your congressman is the third ranking Republican in the House, it's a a big hit to sacrifice that power to a state agency.
The editorial reflects the basic dilemma of earmarks: take a stand against them and let your district suffer, or play the game and risk accusations of hypocrisy.