The Politico reports today that fiscal conservatives face several hurdles in their quest to end earmarks, not the least of which is that “Democrats last year actually approved fewer earmarks than Republicans did when they ran Congress.”

A closer look at the numbers reveals that isn’t exactly true. Liberals are comparing the fiscal 2008 total of 11,043 to the fiscal 2005 total of 13,997. What they don’t tell you is that this year’s number is the second highest on record and it’s a sharp increase from the past two years.

This chart shows the steady increase of pork-barrel projects since the mid-1990s. While the Republican Party has nothing to brag about for its addiction to pork through the years, Democrats can’t boast about making progress either.

Of course, many of this year’s earmarks could be eliminated with a presidential executive order. President Bush is reportedly still contemplating such an action, and in the past few days the White House has heard an increasing number of calls from Americans for Tax Reform, Citizens Against Government Waste, Club for Growth and National Taxpayers Union, as well as bloggers such as Captain’s Quarters, Instapundit, Outside the Beltway, RedState and Tapscott’s Copy Desk.

Will the increased pressure push the White House to act? Don’t count on it. If the stubborn appropriators on Capitol Hill have anything to say about it, expect Bush to back down.