Debra J. Saunders

 Be it noted that two of the Sept. 11 terrorists boarded a plane in Portland, Maine -- which bolsters the argument that terrorist training often takes place in the boonies (like Leeds, before the London attacks.) "All states need to be part of the prevention efforts," Bopp added.

 Collins also pushed for "tough new standards" to prevent "intolerable" waste. On the floor, she promised, "no more spending Homeland Security dollars on leather jackets in the District or air-conditioned garbage trucks in New Jersey." This formula should insure that every state has steady funding for its first-responder efforts.

 Then again, as House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Christopher Cox, a critic of Homeland pork, told "60 Minutes," the problem is that "in the end, everything has something to do with homeland security."

 This issue defies your ideas of how Washington works. The House passed a more responsible measure than the Senate bill -- which means that fiscally minded people should look to the House, not the Senate, for better policy.

 Leading moderates -- read Collins and Lieberman -- are on the porcine team. Even GOP maverick Sen. John McCain voted for the porkier plan. (Say it ain't so!)

 Meanwhile, Feinstein is joined by President Bush and Sen. Barbara Boxer in wanting more money to go to cities and ports that just might be terrorist targets.

 Which would I rather see underfunded in the war on terrorism -- Jackson Hole or Los Angeles? Gee, I think I'd rather see Jackson Hole do with less.

 But the forces of reason will remain in the minority as long as Beltway pols believe they are better off padding their districts than doing what is best for the country. They don't believe their constituents would turn on them if there is an attack in a big city that is under-defended because it is underfunded.

 It's the rule of Washington politics redux: In Washington, it is easier to pass a bad bill than a good one -- because elected officials think that's what the public wants.

Debra J. Saunders

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