- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 24, 2010

There is symbolism associated with earmarks. The symbolism revolves around the perception of corruption and the belief that corruption has become an integral part of how Congress works. Perception also revolves around the belief that Congress is incapable of rising above provincial concerns to address the large issues that face us unless it’s somehow “bought off” by the earmark process.

If earmarks are insignificant, why not swear off them? Why not apply a strong symbol of new thinking in Congress? Why not take advantage of the opportunity to begin to turn around the public’s negative perception of how Congress conducts its business? The failure to do so reinforces negative perceptions.

The pregnant question to Republicans from the electorate: Do they really get it, did they really hear the message? On the earmark issue, the answer, for now, is: not even close.

DENNIS LANDRY

South Riding, Va.