To be sure...
To be sure ... there are many "earmarks." Notice that Rep. Obey does not talk about all earmarks, just ones that he arbitrarily chooses.
We know that cost/benefit team has had some monumental screw-ups ( Katrina ) --- as well as some truly fine work.
Why can some folks not fathom that Congresspersons who may well have lived all their lives there --- can also make some good choices.
After all, if they make bad choices , and create dangerous situations right back at home, they might well face the wrath of the voters.
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Hmnn ... not really":
From the article: "Mr. Obey said Friday that over the last 12 years of Republican control the number of earmarks in the labor, health and education spending bill had risen to 3,000, from zero."
This vast increase in pet projects, like museums for teapots and the famous "bridge to nowhere" in Alaska, is what's at issue here. And if you think that earmarks aren't a problem, you aren't paying attention.