Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Being Hypocritical

An article in The Wall Street Journal today addresses the hypocrisy of Republicans who have been berating the Stimulus Package in public but writing letters to the administration asking for funds for there states and districts in secret. Here is the article in its entirety. It's stunning in its hypocrisy.
WASHINGTON—Democrats, stung by criticism of their $787 billion economic-stimulus plan, are targeting Republicans who have attacked the program and then lobbied to get money for their districts. The article is so important that I have

More than a dozen Republican lawmakers supported stimulus-funding requests submitted to the Department of Labor, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Forest Service, in letters obtained by The Wall Street Journal through the Freedom of Information Act.

The stimulus package passed last February with no Republican votes in the House of Representatives. In the Senate, just three Republicans supported it: Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, who later switched to the Democratic Party.

Read the letters sent to the EPA by Kay Bailey Hutchison, John Cornyn, and Robert Bennett; to the Labor Department by Sue Myrick, Paul Ryan, Jean Schmidt; and to the Forest Service by the Alabama congressional delegation.

Lawmakers routinely send letters in support of federal funding for projects in their constituencies; some Republican lawmakers have deliberately avoided sending requests for stimulus dollars because of their opposition to the bill.

Rep. Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican who called the stimulus a "wasteful spending spree" that "misses the mark on all counts," wrote to Labor Secretary Hilda Solis in October in support of a grant application from a group in his district which, he said, "intends to place 1,000 workers in green jobs." A spokeswoman for Mr. Ryan said the congressman felt it was his job to provide "the basic constituent service of lending his assistance for federal grant requests."

Republican Reps. Sue Myrick of North Carolina and Jean Schmidt of Ohio sent letters in October asking for consideration of funding requests from local organizations training workers for energy-efficiency projects.

In November, Ms. Schmidt said in a statement, "It is time to recall the stimulus funds that have not been spent before the Chinese start charging us interest." Aides to the congresswomen said they had always supported local organizations in their requests for federal funding.

None of the projects requested by the three House members received awards in funding decisions announced in January.

The Environmental Protection Agency received two letters from Sen. John Cornyn of Texas asking for consideration of grants for clean diesel projects in San Antonio and Houston. Mr. Cornyn is the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

One of the letters was signed jointly with Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, also of Texas. The letter said that the Port of Houston Authority "has informed me of the positive impact this grant will have in the region by serving as a foundation for PHA's Clean Air Strategy Plan, creating jobs, and significantly reducing diesel emissions." Houston received millions of dollars in diesel funding.

The agency also appeared to have received eight identical letters from Republican Sen. Bob Bennett of Utah recommending infrastructure projects in his state, seven of which were sent before stimulus legislation was passed by Congress.

Spokespeople for Mr. Cornyn and Mr. Bennett said they were just making sure their states received part of the spending once it had been agreed upon. Ms. Hutchison's office didn't respond to a request for comment.

The entire congressional delegation of Alabama, including its two Republican senators, wrote to then-Forest Service Chief Gail Kimbell asking for $15 million for cogongrass eradication and control programs in the state. The state ended up getting a $6.3 million grant.

Republican Richard Shelby, the state's senior senator, called the stimulus package "the socialist way" while it was being debated. A spokesman didn't respond to a request for comment.

President Barack Obama and his party have been playing defense for much of the past year on the stimulus bill. But now the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and its allies are planning to use this week's anniversary of the passage of the stimulus package to tout its success, and to attack prominent Republicans whose states have benefited from stimulus grants.

Mr. Obama warned Republicans last month at their annual retreat that Democrats were ready to spotlight representatives who touted stimulus funds in their districts. "Let's face it, some of you have been at the ribbon-cuttings for some of these important projects in your communities," Mr. Obama said.

A spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee said Democrats risked being perceived as "totally out of touch" by marking the achievements of the stimulus plan on its anniversary. "If the Democrats' answer is to highlight the few worthy projects within what has become regarded as a wasteful and bloated trillion-dollar failure then they are truly grasping at straws," said Ken Spain.

Republicans have seized on double-digit unemployment—the rate hit 10.2% in October before easing in January to 9.7%—to challenge the Obama administration's estimates for the number of jobs supported by stimulus spending.

About $180 billion of the funds allocated to various projects has been paid out. Tax cuts worth about $93 billion have also taken effect, according to agency records published on the government Web site recovery.gov. An additional $320 billion in spending hasn't yet been handed out. A further $195 billion in tax cuts are due to flow through tax returns.

Most of the stimulus spending so far has gone to state and local governments to plug holes in their schools, Medicaid and unemployment-benefits budgets. Spending on infrastructure projects is expected to pick up in 2010.
All that we have heard lately has been that the Stimulus Package has been a failure. But without it, schools and safety would be in trouble and there would be little help for those who have contributed to society who are now out of work. There are so very few jobs in places like Michigan, my home state. Without an extension of unemployment many children would go hungry and be homeless.

Is your job secure?


Pamela said...

I'm so pleased this information is finally being reported. And let's not forget the citizens who so distrust and criticize this administration but have taken every opportunity to take advantage of the same government programs they criticize.

The Write Girl said...

This is an insightful article Judith. I hope we see some more changes in Congress and more bipartisan cooperation when it comes to the key areas that affect this country. People are hurting and they desperately need it. Thanks for sharing.

Judith Ellis said...

Pam - You know it's bad when a conservative paper like The Wall Street Journal reports on it. The Washington Journal, another conservative newspaper, reported on it yesterday. You make an excellent point about the citizens but many of these are misinformed. They simply believe what their congresspersons and senators tell them.

Judith Ellis said...

Katina - What I want is for government to move. The Republicans have been mostly obstructionists. The Stimulus Package got zero Republican votes in the House and three votes in the Senate. As much as I would like bipartisanship if it stymies things I say do what needs to be done. The Democrats have been elected to lead. Period. President Bush did not have a problem with executive orders or in passing things through Reconciliation.

DB said...

It's amazing. The Republicans are unified in their efforts to defeat every program President Obama puts forth. Why? Because he's a Democrat? Because he's black? Because he won and their guy didn't? Their hypocrisy is so transparent one would think some intelligent Republicans would gather the forces together and say "Look folks, we're showing our cards. Let's be a little more circumspect"

And those who object to the stimulus or the health plan as a step toward Socialism are arming themselves against s chimera and not anything that is of any threat to this country.


zorro said...

"Spending on infrastructure projects is expected to pick up in 2010."

More opportunity for Republicans to brag about their
"work" they did for their State/District.

zorro said...

here is a good idea. Will the Republicans fight this?

chesapeake said...

Oh, dear.

I just wish the mudslinging would stop, from all sides. The only thing missing from all of these articles (left-wing, right-wing, or otherwise) is a solid "Well, HE started it" quote from one of these children we all elected in Washington. I have this image in my mind of the Senators and Reps in a big, messy food fight in the Capitol building. In my fantasy, the American people wake up (which I hope is soon) and when we walk in on them, they freeze, fists full of Jello pudding in mid-air.

Actually, I apologize. That's an insult to children. And unnecessary abuse of Jello. :-)

Was anyone else disgusted when, the day after Martha Coakley lost (and thus the Dems lost their majority), CNN reported "Dems to Switch Focus from Health Care to Unemployment".

I don't think there is *anyone* in Washington who isn't a politician looking solely to be re-elected. And that headline proved it to me. I'm not trying to attack Democrats only here. But with what an atrocious mess the Republican party has dissolved into, it speaks volumes about the Democrats that they are losing more and more supporters every day. Both sides, in the general, sweeping, stereotypical sense, are just disgusting to me.

I vote for candidates, not parties.

My game plan as a young, American citizen is to never stop asking questions, always vote, and always keep the dialogue open. Blogs like this do that well, but I have to say, Judith, enough with the Sarah Palin! She doesn't deserve the motion of your fingers on the keyboard. Contrary to what the media is trying to make us believe, there are actually very few people supporting her tripe, and those who are aren't worth our time either.

I'm a (reluctant) Texan who will be voting early this week for our new governor. Rest assured, the hypocrite known as Kay Bailey Hutchison will not be receiving my finger push. I hope that within these discussions, we are all remembering that WE are the government. We can take it back anytime.

Thanks for the space, Judith.


Judith Ellis said...

Right on, as usual, DB. Palin actually gave their hand in the interview with Chris Wallace when she spoke of politicizing war. Cheney adversely spoke against her comment on This Week over the weekend, but the truth of the matter is that many Republican leaders have been politicizing and profiting from war for some time now. This is what the Eisenhower, one of my favorite presidents, warned about.

Just consider how Rudy Giuliani has politicized/publicized for personal gain such a horrible event as 911 and you will understand there for many there is simply no shame. Vice President Biden was right on when he quipped that Giuliani's speeches only includes a "noun, verb and 911." True that! He has also been despicable in his outright lies and deceit.

Judith Ellis said...

Zorro - As much of the Stimulus money has not even gone out yet, I assume that many more Republicans will be touting such successes in their districts.

Judith Ellis said...

Chesapeake - You make some good points about politics in general. With regards to CNN reports, well, that's THEIR report, but it doesn't make it so. Personally, I'm not a fan of network "news" these days. PBS and C-Span usually gets my attention. Just because CNN announces that the administration will now change from this issue to that because of any win does not mean that it is reality. From what I gather President Obama is holding a televised health care summit with both parties. This doesn't seem like it's backing away from health care to me. This is an important issue with regards to spending and it has to be dealt with and not put off. It's difficult. This is the reason so many presidents have failed at it. Let's get it done and right. President Obama seems to be clear on this.

You may know something that I don't know or have heard something that I haven't but it appears to me that the mud slinging in this particular environment seems to be largely coming from the Republican leadership. Perhaps it is the nature of their minority position. But they have not put forth an agenda on anything and have largely been obstructionists. (Did you catch the session with President Obama and House Republicans? It was truly revealing.) I am not talking about the media. I'm talking about Republican leadership. They have basically been responding negatively, even against ideas such as a deficit commission that they themselves have long touted. It is all about power structures in order to regain power and not about what's good and right for the people. At some point leaders have to lead.

With regards to leading and the Democrats, the last administration had no problem whatsoever in executive orders and reconciliation. The filibuster was also used by far less. Zorro pointed out here that there have been 100 filibusters in the last year, more than there have ever been, if I'm not now mistaken. When there is an attempt to change things, there will always be fallout on ALL sides...

Judith Ellis said...

President Obama may be a politician but he strikes me as sincere. The reason the Left falls out with him is that he does not give them all that they want such as moving forth in the surge in Afghanistan. The question is whether as a leader if you will be hemmed in by your own Party or if you will move forward with what is believed to be right. These are choices of a leader and often cause dissension among the ranks.

Regarding Sarah Palin, yeah, I used to think the same way that you do and if you look back at my blogs I have not written of her at all. But considering the steam of the largely racist Tea Party movement and the knowledge that we must be vigilant, I WILL CONTINUE to address Palin, Tancredo and anyone else who puts forth such hate. Also, rather dense people have gotten to be president before, and while we may have liked to have had a beer with them, they will not go down in history as our best presidents. The last eight years have been quite devastating for our country on many fronts, nationally and internationally.

One other thing, if Senator Bayh is the model of bipartisanship and is instead the quitter like Sarah Palin who will probably now make big bucks as his health care lobbyist wife, well, bipartisanship can be kept. His press conference the other day was like a weak bruised man pretending to be honorable, while playing politics the whole time. His wife's sullen/sun-shining face and constant rubbing her son's shoulder probably says more about what's actually happening as opposed to what Senator Bayh was saying. Bayh had threatened to not even allow a vote on the public option. His wife sits on FOUR private health care boards, including WellPoint.

All four of the boards that Senator Bayh's wife sits on are vehemently opposed to health care reform, spending a record amount of $380 million in lobbying against the people's interest. They have a vested interest in things remaining the same. The Indianapolis Star reports that Senator Bayh's household received $2.1 million from 2005-2008. When asked whether he would rule out being a lobbyist, Senator Bayh said that he wouldn’t. Yet, he stood their in his holier than thou posture talking about bipartisanship when lobbying is a major cinch in destroying it as in which party will be in power and who will get the support from PACs.Bayh appears like a woman scorned.

Chesapeake - You may always write as often and as much as you'd like here. You're a thoughtful young lady and I always like it when you have stopped in.

Judith Ellis said...

Zorro - I completely agree with this legislation that would require "corporations to disclose the sources and amounts of money that they use to pay for broadcast campaign ads, making it easier to monitor. They also would have to disclose all campaign spending within 24 hours on their Web sites and notify their shareholders on a regular basis. And chief executives would have to appear in broadcast ads paid by their corporations, the way candidates already are required to endorse their own ads." This is a great step in the right direction! I also hope that it is in place in time for the mid-term elections.

zorro said...

The question is - will the republicans go against it?
If they do, how will they justify it?

Judith Ellis said...

Yes, that is the question indeed, Zorro. I don't see how the Republican can justifiably go against it. But I have said this before over the last year and have been wrong. Who would have thought that they would have been against reading the attempted Christmas terrorist Miranda Rights when ALL of the other terrorists and thwarted terrorist were read Miranda Rights since 911. No one was balking at that then. Cheney admitted this over the weekend. Yet, he still blasted the present administration, although less vehemently, for the continued specific polices that seems to have worked: NO terrorists or thwarted terrorists have escaped federal prisons, including the Shoe Bomber.

zorro said...

What would have happened if a Democrat has been in office on 911?
What would the Republicans have done/said?

Judith Ellis said...

Perish the thought, Zorro! Giuliani would be considered a mad man because he would be uttering just one single word instead of three: 911!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

DB said...

When there is war the weapons used, guns, bullets, tanks, planes, and road side bombs, don't come out of mid air. Of every army, paricularly the privare armies, terrorists and so forth, three important questions should be asked and answered. They are almost never asked and hence almost never answered.

1. Where do the weapons come from?
2. Who sells them?
3. Who pays for them?


Judith Ellis said...

DB - Please help me understand the significance of your comment. Is there hypocrisy here? What would answering these questions show?

Judith Ellis said...

Are you referring to what President Eisenhower termed the "industrial war complex" with regards to who benefits, DB? Are you speaking of privatizing war as it relates to who benefits from it, as in certain corporations and governments--so, war then would not simply be about freedom and democracy but at least we know the meaning? Highly unlikely. Wasn't WW I termed the "Great War" because it was suppose to be the end of all wars? Well, we know what happened thereafter.

chesapeake said...


I didn't mean to roll in President Obama with my comments. I don't think he's a politician; in fact, if I'm being completely honest, I get the feeling every time he talks that he would like nothing more than to not be re-elected. I don't blame him in some ways, but in other ways that isn't the feeling I want to be getting from my President. Especially one who I spent 15 hours in a crowded auditorium full of local Democrats trying to get elected (I was a local delegate for President Obama in the primaries).

The Senator Bayh situation is ridiculous, and it doesn't surprise me at all about his wife. I would guess that almost everyone in Congress has some kind of questionable tie to the healthcare system, whether it be through insurance, prescription drug companies, the private sector, etc. Left, right, or otherwise. This country needs reform, that's to be sure. I would like to see some of it in the form of preventative medicine with less of a focus on prescription drugs. Let's start by banning prescription drug ads like every other country in the world has done.

You posted a few days ago a video of Press Secretary Robert Gibbs taking a jab back at Sarah Palin. I have a good sense of humor. But I thought it was unnecessary and unprofessional. I don't care if Sarah Palin's feelings were hurt (who does?); I thought it was throwing mud back at someone who is a NEWSCASTER. There should be a notecard on Mr. Gibbs' podium: Please Do Not Feed the Animals at the Zoo. The number of times he has made comments on people like Rush Limbaugh and Palin is ridiculous to me, and I KNOW that it is politically motivated, because the goal of the Dems back in 2009 was to ensure Limbaugh was portrayed as the face of the Republican Party (maybe the party would have done better to make sure their own policies were getting done?). Is Mr. Gibbs our President? No, but he represents our President, and the lack of professionalism Mr. Gibbs has consistently shown is indicative of a larger problem.

Here's the thing: the Dems have had the majority. The President's Office had the people behind them. They even had the middle-ground voters (you're currently reading the words of one) looking to them for something, anything different than what we'd been getting for the previous eight years. So they didn't need to take down the Republican Party through statements and comments. It's like "no comment" or the words "Our country is facing issues greater than Ms. Palin right now" don't exist in Mr. Gibbs' vocabulary. He's an amateur, he's condescending (much like Bush could be at press conferences), and he's a terrible (though possibly quite accurate) representation of our government.

You may see talking about Palin as trying to eradicate negativity and racism. But I think that it is feeding the steaming pile of garbage that is the remnants of the Republican party. I firmly believe in "What you focus on you'll find." So giving Palin, Limbaugh, Hannity, Tea Party Protesters, etc, any energy, even negative, feeds them and their agenda...

chesapeake said...

I agree with you that some of the TEA Party protests are racially motivated. But I believe many of these people are not. Our country went through eight years of Bush toilet paper, countdown til he's out of office paraphernalia, t-shirts with his face and Satan written underneath his likeness, etc, and now there are "Not My President" shirts for President Obama and somehow all of the people who are not supporting the current President are racist? (Again, I believe some are).

Here's my point: you may be sitting in Detroit, a lifelong Democrat, thinking that the Republicans are the mudslinging, trouble-causing party (which they are) and Tea Party protesters are completely incorrect in their beliefs. You probably counted down the days until Bush was gone, lamented his policy choices, maybe even called him names. And you are not alone in that, nor unjustified. But there's also someone somewhere else who thought you were wrong that whole time.

That doesn't make you wrong, but it doesn't make *them* wrong either (well, it makes the racists wrong, because racism is always wrong). While Dems rejoice over the unmasking of Republicans as hypocrites (rightfully reported and even rightfully discussed), someone somewhere else is rejoicing over the fact that the Democrats have lost their majority.

And it gets us nowhere. Not to say that these things shouldn't be discussed. They should. But what use is the gleeful, rabid reaction that I see from both sides over and over and over? Again, middle America is a lot more "middle" than you might think. My question is this: did the people who failed to elect Martha Coakley and instead voted Red in a Blue state get poisoned by the messages of Palin and Limbaugh? We're talking about *Massachusetts*. I'll give them more credit than that. There is something seriously wrong in Washington right now, and the American people know it. Is voting for a Republican the answer? I don't know, but I don't live in Massachusetts, so I didn't have a say in their election anyway.

Oh, and when there are people in the Democratic Party who won't vote for the Democratic President-endorsed healthcare bill even when there was a filibuster-proof majority, then I don't think that the Republicans can be entirely blamed.

One more thing: for the people who have lost their jobs (a great part of your city, as I understand it), my greatest hope for them is that they find security in seeking new opportunity. It isn't cut and dry, but I hope that for the ones who have the money to move to a new place, they find several jobs immediately, however low-paying, however temporary, and get great personal financial counseling so they can find peace in saving their hard-earned money. Maybe then these people, however few, can return to Detroit and start up businesses once they have their own finances in order. The government hasn't saved your city yet after over two years of recession, though two different Presidential offices, so I hope that people aren't relying solely on that for their future.

Detroit is a fantastic part of our history as Americans, and I hope to see it return to a new kind of glory.

Thanks again, Judith.


Judith Ellis said...

Chesapeake - Thanks for your comment. It's appreciated.

Tea Party - We have to be vigilant about issues that historically have repeated themselves. Of course, they have legitimate issues and concerns. But so did Hitler and the Third Reich. I read that there has been an uneasy truce among the Tea Party movement and Republican Party. Let's see how that manifests.

Robert Gibbs – Okay. You disagree with him. You may have a point with regards to his position itself. But I generally think he's witty and often times funny. He is not for me anything like George W. Bush at the podium.

Rush Limbaugh - His impact on the leaders of the Republican Party is a reality. It's indeed very influential. They simply cannot disagree with him or anyone in the Tea Party. They cannot denounce the despicable racist remarks of Tom Tancredo because it is a political calculated move. Ethics and morality be damned. With regards to movements, we have to be vigilant. History has a way of repeating itself.

Sarah Palin – You disagree with me. Okay.

George Bush – Personally, I did not speak ill of him once when he was in office even when I disagreed with his policies. I think he has handled himself honorably since he's left office. The same cannot be said of Dick Cheney, not that he disagrees with the current administration’s policies but his outright hypocrisy with issues such as the handling of terrorists and would be terrorists.

Massachusetts Election - I have a brother who is a die-hard liberal who said he would have had problems voting for Coakley. He did not like her at all. Also, after so many years of the seat being held by one side in such an economic crisis, I can clearly see how Brown was elected running as a moderate without the likes of the Tea Party and Palin overtly backing him in a Democratic state that have had their share of Republican governors. In such an economic time there will likely be more changes in Congress. We are largely impatient no matter the administration.

Detroit Analogy - I suppose there are such people out there here and elsewhere.

Delighting in Hypocrisy - For me, it's not about delighting in such but saying that government needs to change AND seeking to understand how we are we going to do it. Hopefully, it will enable the American people to see exactly why some things don't get done in Washington.

My City and the Government - Policy largely enables business, not merely hard work. If you don't think so, all you have to do is look at our banks well before the crisis with deregulation, insurance collusion, and no-bid billion-dollar war contracts.

Policy matters. I am for self-reliance, but this notion of pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps is largely a myth. Who does that where there has not been something or someone who enabled success?

I appreciate your thoughtful well-reasoned voice. Young people like you give us hope for the future.