Wednesday, February 17, 2010

What Kaylyn said ...

In response to the observation that egregious, hypocritical behavior doesn't embarrass republicans, Kaylyn said:
Its obvious why they are not embarrassed. This is their carefully coordinated and controlled plan. Remember the pizza parlour party back in February 09? Someone was probably jacking with the poor waitress and somebody else saw it as a model for their strategy. "Hey hon, can you get me a Coke?" Drinks half the Coke. "Oh, miss? I don't want a Coke, bring me a DP" Orders a deluxe pizza with extra cheese. Eats half of it. "Hey, this pizza has to much cheese. And I don't like all this other crap on it. I'm not paying for this. Bring me a Pepperoni pizza with black olives?" Eats half...and well you know he hates black olives. And DP. Won't pay for it. Asks for a coke and a salad. Leaves before it arrives. No tip. Kept the waitress and the Kitchen busy for an hour or more, gets to eat two half pizzas, and doesn't pay for any of it cuz the food was lousy and not what he wanted. Comes back for lunch the next day.
They're Getting Embarrassed! DNC chair Tim Kaine on 2010 Feb. 16: Democratic Party chairman Tim Kaine talks with Rachel Maddow about the lessons learned from the Massachusetts Senate election and how he plans to direct the Democrats through the 2010 campaign season.

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Atkins: The year in bipartisanship

John Cole, a little more than a year ago:

I really don’t understand how bipartisanship is ever going to work when one of the parties is insane. Imagine trying to negotiate an agreement on dinner plans with your date, and you suggest Italian and she states her preference would be a meal of tire rims and anthrax. If you can figure out a way to split the difference there and find a meal you will both enjoy, you can probably figure out how bipartisanship is going to work the next few years.

Not, of course, that this lesson has been heeded lately by an entire swath of legislators who put the bipartisanship fetish on a pedestal higher than the combined interests of a) getting good legislation passed, and b) their own electoral chances.

But hey, at least we have Rachel Maddow calling them out for taking credit for recommending the pasta. Aren't we all just dying to find out where we'll be a year from now?

Think Progress: Stimulus Hypocrisy Can’t Even Pass The Fox News Laugh Test: Cavuto Hits GOP For ‘Being Selective’ In Its ‘Rage’

Today, the Wall Street Journal reported on more than a dozen Republican lawmakers who voted against the stimulus last year but subsequently “supported stimulus-funding requests” submitted by their constituents to federal agencies. One such lawmaker was Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-OH), who said she didn’t believe “that it would create the jobs that were promised.” In November, she even issued a call to “recall the stimulus funds that have not been spent.” Of course, Schmidt wasn’t so concerned about the federal deficit to turn down supporting “funding requests from local organizations training workers for energy-efficiency projects.”

Today, Fox News’ Neil Cavuto pushed her on her hypocrisy. Schmidt spun all sorts of circles trying to justify her move, saying that she would still “return that money to the Treasury” if she could, but the “genie is out of the bottle.” Cavuto repeatedly asked her how Republicans were any different from Democrats, pointed out how what they were doing was “offensive” to some folks, and hit her for sending a “mixed message.”

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) went on next and defended Schmidt: “She’s being very genuine in saying, ‘Look, I wouldn’t have voted for the stimulus.’ … But if she’s going to be held accountable, and the people in her district and the people in the entire country are going to have to pay for it, well then yes, certainly the Democrats aren’t suggesting that the stimulus dollars go to just the Democratic counties.” “You’re being very selective in your rage here,” concluded Cavuto. Watch it:

Democrats were never saying that all the money should go to Democratic districts; they were saying that Republicans should have been helping to bring money to all districts without simultaneously spouting political attacks claiming that the stimulus wasn’t going to “create any jobs.”

Also in the interview, Chaffetz claimed he wasn’t one of the lawmakers begging for stimulus handouts:

CAVUTO: Did constituents seek you out and say, “Could you get funding for me for this,” and did you turn them down? Yes or no.

CHAFFETZ: Well, in general, yes, I did turn them down.

Chaffetz must have forgotten about the letter he and other Utah lawmakers sent the Interior Department “on behalf of the Provo River Water Users Association seeking $95 million in [stimulus] funds.”


It's often called the "cash-and-trash" strategy -- Republicans hate the stimulus package and "trash" it at every available opportunity, but love the stimulus package and grab the "cash" when it comes to creating jobs in their own states/districts. It's been going on for a year, but the phenomenon keeps spreading.

Last week, the Washington Times found that "more than a dozen Republican lawmakers," all of whom insisted that the stimulus package was an awful idea that couldn't possibly help the economy, privately urged the Department of Agriculture to send stimulus money to their states and districts, touting the investments' economic benefits.

Today, the Wall Street Journal moves the ball forward with still more GOP lawmakers who say they oppose the very idea of the stimulus package, but who nevertheless believe the stimulus will help improve the economy in their areas.

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.

It's quite a motley crew. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said the stimulus "misses the mark on all counts," but encouraged the Labor Department to invest stimulus money in his district, highlighting a project he said would create 1,000 jobs. Reps. Sue Myrick (R-N.C.) and Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio), both right-wing opponents of the recovery efforts, did the same thing.

It's not just House Republicans, either. Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), Bob Bennett (R-Utah), and Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) all told the Obama administration that the stimulus would improve the economy in their states by directing funds in their direction.

The takeaway here should be pretty obvious, and it goes beyond just the impressive levels of hypocrisy. When push comes to shove, and it's their constituents on the line, Republicans know that the stimulus works. For all their palaver about how government spending is simply incapable of creating jobs and generating economic growth, we know they don't mean it -- we have the written requests for stimulus funds to prove it.

Also note, the WSJ report only covers Labor, EPA, and Forest Service. It's very likely that many more Republican lawmakers who opposed the stimulus also reached out to other agencies, convinced that the money would do wonders in their state/district.

Expect the Democratic campaign committees to emphasize this heavily as the election season nears.


Congressional Republicans' cash-and-trash strategy -- trashing the economic stimulus, while embracing stimulus cash at the same time -- has become an interesting spectacle. But as Christina Bellantoni reminds us, the GOP's hypocrisy extends to governors, too.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell offered effusive praise for $24 million in federal funds that allowed him to establish an office of Health Information Technology and to fund a program helping Virginia doctors transition to electronic medical records.

Just one problem -- he thinks the government shouldn't have spent that money to begin with.

Yes, the new Virginia governor spent much of 2009 insisting that the stimulus investments were a wasteful idea, which wouldn't help the economy. As of yesterday, McDonnell thinks at least $24 million of those investments are a great idea that will help the economy.

Of course, McDonnell isn't alone. Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R), who's relentlessly attacked the stimulus as part of his presidential campaign, has described recovery efforts as "wasted" and "misdirected." As of this week, however, the governor released his plan to fill the shortfall in his state budget, and wouldn't you know it, "nearly one-third of the governor's budget fix would rely on $387 million in federal stimulus money."

Neither is quite as shameless as Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) -- who's a Hypocrisy Hall of Famer -- but the list of Republican governors who love and hate the stimulus at the same time is certainly getting longer.

At face value, the Republican response may seem reasonable enough. The money has already been allocated, and is going to be spent, they say. It only makes sense, then, to help their constituents as much as possible.

But this misses the point. To hear GOP officials tell it, government spending isn't just inherently wrong, it's inherently useless. Investing tax dollars can't create jobs, can't generate growth, and can't be relied on to improve economic conditions. By asking for stimulus money, accepting stimulus money, and occasionally even handing out stimulus money, these same GOP officials are conceding that their argument is wrong.

And frankly, we knew they were wrong anyway. The recovery effort created jobs, generated growth, and rescued the economy from a depression. Seeing Republicans scramble to secure funds for their states and districts only makes clearer what's been obvious to economists for months.

The decent thing to do would be for Republicans to simply apologize for getting us into this mess, acknowledge how wrong they were to oppose President Obama's effective solution, and then thank Democrats for rescuing the economy.

I'm sure the White House would be gracious in response.

GOP hypocritical about stimulus Feb. 16: The Wall Street Journal has obtained letters from Republican lawmakers privately asking for stimulus funds they were publically railing against. The Washington Post's Eugene Robinson discusses.

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Krugman: Enemies of Reform

At this point the odds are that in response to the most devastating financial crisis since the Great Depression, we will do … nothing.

And while there is plenty of blame to spread around, it’s important not to be too even-handed. The fact is that the Democrat-controlled House has already passed a pretty good reform bill. But in the Senate, well, here’s what the FT reports:

Senate Republicans are resisting a fundamental tenet of the Obama administration’s financial regulatory reforms in another obstacle for the stalled legislative process.

Several aides from both parties involved in reform negotiations told the Financial Times that Republicans had opposed in private a plan to impose tougher capital and liquidity requirements on companies that posed a risk to the financial system.

That’s tantamount to opposing any real reform.

You might think that the GOP would pay a political price for this. But it already has its strategy: insist that black is white.

The right-wing group “Committee for Truth In Politics” seems to have taken the advice of the postmodernist Frank Luntz, and cast new regulations on Wall Street, which Wall Street is furiously attempting to kill, as a giant favor to Wall Street.

And they’ll probably get away with it.

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