Good old days of 'pork' are gone

Remember when members of Congress used to actually boast about all the money they channeled to their states or their congressional districts?

Shoot, you had to be able to talk committee chairmen into approving money for your pet project. There always was something to give back in return, of course. A favor for the chairman’s district, or some help raising money for the other guy’s re-election campaign often was the kind of quid pro quo offered and delivered.

Those days are gone. That’s generally a good thing. I’m not fond of what’s been called “pork-barrel spending.”

A long-time U.S. senator, Republican Thad Cochran of Mississippi, is in trouble now partly because he used to funnel a lot of dough back to the Magnolia State.

It used to be a good thing. No more, folks.

Nope. The guy who’s favored to beat him Tuesday in the GOP runoff in Mississippi is Chris McDaniel, a tea party golden boy who stands poised to knock off another one-time “titan of the Senate.”

It’s not that Cochran is my favorite senator. Far from it. He tilts too far to the right for my taste. McDaniel, though, tilts even farther to the right, which makes the probable outcome in Mississippi a downer as far as I’m concerned. I’m figuring McDaniel would be one of those who’ll proclaim “my way or the highway” on anything that comes from the other side of the aisle.

A question looms in this race for Mississippi Republicans: Is it really and truly a bad thing to spend public money when it pays for public projects that are developed in your very own state? According to the New York Times, the answer for many Mississippians is “yes.”

It didn’t used to be this way.

Oh, the times they certainly are a-changin’.

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