White House Hearts Earmarks

Justin Rood catches the White House talking out of both sides of its mouth:

Just a few months after blasting the congressional practice of diverting millions in taxpayer dollars to pet projects, President Bush has slipped into current legislation more than 100 so-called “earmarks” worth over $1 billion – including nearly $6 million for work on the White House. The provisions appear to draw a stark contrast with the president’s harsh words for earmarks and their proponents in his State of the Union speech in January … The president’s earmarks, for projects including national park improvements, land purchases and new government facilities, have drawn unusual on-the-record criticism from Republican lawmakers, who typically eschew public displays of disaffection with the White House.

Now one would hope that the White House be blasted for this apparent hypocrisy. But the White House explains itself thusly:

“There’s a striking difference here” between White House earmarks and congressional earmarks, said administration spokesman Sean Kevelighan. The White House chooses earmarks “[in] a way that is competitive or merit-based,” while Congress tends to choose earmarks “based on geography, seniority and special interests,” he said.