Who's the Real Candidate for Change?

Democratic candidate Barack Obama’s motto is “Change We Can Believe In.” And Hillary Clinton says she is “The Candidate for Change.” And Republican candidate John McCain says he will make “real changes” in Washington.

Who can we believe?

Here’s a simple test, since all three candidates are members of the US Senate.

Requested Earmarks, 2008

Candidate Number Cost

Hillary Clinton 212 $266 million

Barack Obama 53 $126 million

John McCain 0 $0

Source: Wall Street Journal, March 11, 2008, p. A20.

Clearly, there is only one major candidate for real change: John McCain.

For years, politicians running for president have promised fiscal discipline — to balance the budget, cut the size and scope of government, and engage in real reform, but few really do anything about it.

I think McCain is the first serious candidate who will probably deliver on his campaign promise to eliminate earmarks.

This week, an bipartisan amendment will be introduced by Republican Jim DeMint of South Carolina and Democrat Claire McCaskill of Missouri to require any earmarked spending project for 2009 to have a two-thirds vote to go forward.

Senator McCain plans to return from the campaign trial to vote for the measure. “I absolutely support the amendment to abolish [earmarks] altogether.” He’s even promised as president to veto legislation that contains earmarks.

According to the Wall Street Journal, both Senators Obama and Clinton have also joined on as co-sponsors, despite their record above.

Still, I suspect we won’t see real fiscal discipline on Capitol Hill until we have a Constitutional Amendment requiring a balanced budget.


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