Bob Costa has the postmortem at National Review:
Retiring GOP senators like Kit Bond (Mo.), George Voinovich (Ohio), and Robert Bennett (Utah) were considered by numerous Senate aides to be, at varying points, susceptible to Reid’s machinations. Other Republicans rumored to be mulling a ‘yea’ vote on the omnibus included Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Sen. Thad Cochran (Miss.), who together requested more than $500 million worth of earmarks in the bill.
McConnell’s challenge was to softly cajole pork-friendly Republicans, many of whom hold senior status in the upper chamber, to abandon their home-state projects. At one point in the deliberations, Reid mentioned nine Republicans (though not by name) who had signaled their support. Senior GOP aides dispute that number, but either way, the bill appears to have come dangerously close to passing. It took McConnell’s flurry of phone calls, the zealous efforts of Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.), and threats from Sens. Tom Coburn (R., Okla.) and Jim DeMint (R., S.C.) to force a reading of the bill to ultimately crash the omnibus.
Nice work by our Republican Senate leaders. They showed some backbone.
“I’m proud of our team for holding together,” McConnell said. “I’m proud of the appropriations-committee members who decided that this is not the way to do it.” Instead of following Reid’s demands, “we decided that we’re not going to pass a 2,000-page bill that nobody has seen since yesterday. That’s not the way to operate and that’s not the message from the November elections. We decided not to do it. Unified Republican opposition is what got it done.”
Why was I suspicious that a deal was struck between the Republican and Democrat leaders? Because of the duplicitous nature of some of our leaders, that’s why.
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D., Mo.) was determined to set the record straight. “It’s like they think the American people are stupid,” she told NRO following a heated floor speech. “Everybody knows the bill was drafted by both Republicans and Democrats. Mitch McConnell had $100 million worth of earmarks in the bill that he was trying to make everybody think . . . had been hatched in some Democrat’s office somewhere . . . I mean, how do you spell hypocrisy?”
McCaskill may be a big government Statist, but she’s no porker. She’s requested no earmarks since becoming a MO Senator in 2007, and she’s set up a Website, Taxpayers Against Earmarks to help end the practice. Here are her Heroes and Hooligans list of Congressmen who either eschew pork, or continually request earmarks.
To be a “Hero,” a Member must have: (1) refrained from requesting any earmarks this year OR (2) pledged to refrain from requesting earmarks in future years, as a majority of the members of the House and Senate Republican Conferences have recently done.
There are only 37 heroes in the Senate as it stands, today – most of them Republican, including McConnell. She may want to update that.
See Cubachi for the List of senators and the number of earmarks they placed in Omnibus spending bill