Mark Schmitt makes a good case, on purely partisan grounds. One of the few things a minority-party legislator can do is bring home the bacon. A “no-earmarks” rule would eliminate that.
One thing he doesn’t note: the Administration always has the capacity to steer particular expenditures to particular districts. So a “no-earmarks” rule would actually strengthen the hand of Obama in negotiating with Congressional Democrats, while allowing him to do as much incumbent protection for the good guys as he wants to do.
Talk about jiu-jitsu! If Obama proposes it, the Republicans have to vote for it. The problem is with the Democratic barons on the Hill.