Pork: The Pragmatic Politician’s Best Friend

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

One of the weird things about writing for magazines is the lead time. Before I left for Ireland, I had just finished all the final proofing on my piece for the next issue. It’s been pretty much the only thing on my mind for the past two months.

But today, up popped “Bring Back Pork” on my RSS feed. What? When did I write that? Oh yeah: back in May. Then it missed the next issue, and ended up in the current one. And now it’s online. I practically don’t even remember it.

But it’s great! You should read it! It’s all about how pork barrel politics is one of those malodorous things that unfortunately seems to be necessary to well-lubricated dealmaking among homo sapiens. So we should hold our noses and let it happen as long as it stays within reasonable bounds.

Party polarization is so far gone these days that I doubt it would make much of a difference if the current pork ban were rescinded, but it might someday. For better or worse, we’re humans, not Vulcans, and this is a case where being too virtuous can actually make things worse.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend