Headspining Hypocrisy--GOP Stimulus After-Posturing

by: Paul Rosenberg

Sun Feb 15, 2009 at 18:47

In a quick hit, amberglow has unearthed a real gem of a story: "GOP lawmakers tout projects in the stimulus bill they opposed".  I call it "headspinning" because it moves in so many directions at once, like the many-leveled shell of electrons around an atom of a heavy metal.

First, there's the fundamental hypocrisy of taking credit for legislation you voted against.  That's sort of basic, ground-state GOP hypocrisy.  But then there was Don Young's claim of working in a bipartisan manner! On a bill that no Republican voted for!  And Young followed that up by (a) telling MacClatchy he would have inserted earmarks if he could and (b) issuing a later press release blasting the bill as "a vehicle for pet projects."

And that's just the most easily describable stuff.

Head-spinning gory details on the flip.

Paul Rosenberg :: Headspining Hypocrisy--GOP Stimulus After-Posturing
So, here's the run-down.  Hypocrisy in the ground state, taking credit for a bill they voted against--along with every other Republican voting:

Rep. John Mica was gushing after the House of Representatives voted Friday to pass the big stimulus plan.

"I applaud President Obama's recognition that high-speed rail should be part of America's future," the Florida Republican beamed in a press release.

Yet Mica had just joined every other GOP House member in voting against the $787.2 billion economic recovery plan.

Republicans echoed their party line over and over during the debate: "This bill is loaded with wasteful deficit spending on the majority's favorite government programs," as Minority Whip Eric Cantor, R-Va., put it.

But Mica wasn't alone in touting what he saw as the bill's virtues. Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, also had nice things to say in a press release.

Young boasted that he "won a victory for the Alaska Native contracting program and other Alaska small business owners last night in H.R. 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act."

Next, taking credit for bipartisan 'working with members on the other side of the aisle' even though he voted against them:

One provision would have made it harder for minority businesses to win contracts, and Young explained that he "worked with members on the other side of the aisle to make the case for these programs, and was able to get the provision pulled from the bill."

And being for earmarks (even though he couldn't get them) while railing against them (in the more generic form of "pet projects."

Yet later in the day Young - who recently told McClatchy that he would've included earmarks, or local projects, in the bill if it had been permitted - issued another statement blasting the overall measure.

"This bill was not a stimulus bill. It was a vehicle for pet projects, and that's wrong," he protested.

Of course, even the uber-pork "Bridge to Nowhere" would have had a stimulative effect on the economy, so that last passage is in itself a headspinning twofer.

And there's this added twist on top:

Young wouldn't return a request for comment on the apparent contradiction of his press releases.

The quiet blowhard!

In fact, two of them!

Mike Steel, a spokesman for House GOP Leader John Boehner of Ohio, at first ducked when asked about Mica and Young issuing press releases praising the bill they'd opposed.

"I don't work for Mica or Young," Steel said initially.

How many boneheaded Mike Steels does the GOP have?  And how do they tell them apart?

Ooops!  Another contradiction here, as Steel decides, well, whatever.  Maybe he doesn't decide anything.  Maybe his compulsions just got the better of him.  Anyway, now he's offering an "explantion":

But then he explained that what Mica and Young did in touting aspects of the bill was in fact consistent with the Republican message.

"Being supportive of one portion of a trillion dollar bill, but voting against the entire trillion dollar bill, is perfectly reasonable," Steel said.

And surprisingly enough, there's nothing hypocritical about the explanation.  For a Republican it is perfectly reasonable to be a bad faith actor.  In fact, if they weren't bad faith actors, they wouldn't be Republicans.

Mica is the top Republican on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and a longtime backer of high-speed rail. GOP committee spokesman Justin Harclerode explained that Mica saw the bill's $8 billion for rail as a "silver lining," and "he's encouraged others are supporting high speed rail too."

But nowhere in the Young or Mica statements was any mention that they opposed the bill.

Harclerode wasn't sure why Mica didn't mention his opposition. "It's not really secret," he said. "I guess it just wasn't the focus."

No, of course not.  His focus was on taking credit for something he tried his darnedest to stop.

As a parting treat, since you've all been so good in reading this far, here's a model of the structure of lies and hypocrisy touched on in this piece:

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there will be much more weaselry like this (4.00 / 2)
I predict that many Republican incumbents will try to take credit for any infrastructure projects in their districts, even though they voted against the bill that funded these projects.

In last year's campaign, Congressman Steve "10 worst" King (IA-05) used his first television commercial to take credit for progress toward widening Iowa Highway 20, even though that project was bankrolled by state (not federal) funds. King had nothing to do with it. Nevertheless, he continued to mislead voters about his role in moving the Highway 20 project forward, and the mainstream media did not call him on it.

Join the Iowa progressive community at Bleeding Heartland.

As I Recall (4.00 / 1)
The M$M has a habit of never calling him on anything.  Isn't that so?

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
mostly true (4.00 / 1)
though the Sioux City Journal did publish a piece last summer exposing how ineffective he's been as a member of Congress.

Join the Iowa progressive community at Bleeding Heartland.

[ Parent ]
Wow! (0.00 / 0)
One story a year? Or term? Or career?

That's hard-hitting!

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
par for the course for the gop (0.00 / 0)
we must call them on it though

can be a useful thing in the next election cycle

We can call them on it (0.00 / 0)
but will the press, will their constituents get the truth?

[ Parent ]
Their constituents would congratulate them! (0.00 / 0)
Hey, their Senators and representatives got something for nothing! What's not to like if you're a republican voter?

Sry, but imho this is quite a disaster for the Dems, and not much political capital to be gained from this in return.

[ Parent ]
Sad to say, but imho those rethuglicans have a point. (4.00 / 1)
Seriously, folks, yes obviously onyl because of right wing pressure have provisions been altered or outright cut. The idiocy was to do that without demanding from the GOP lawmakers clear public statments that they would vote for the bill if those compromises would be made. Instead, now we have the idiotic situation where the rethuglicans can rightly brag about succesfully influencing the bill, without voting for it. Of course, it's ridiculous to call this "bipartisanship", but it's still a totally one-sided victory for the rethuglicans. And this shows that trying to reunite both sides behind these urgent measures of national importance has totally failed. Maybe this was a deliberate strategy by the Dems to expose the bigotry of the GOP lawmakers, I dunno, but even if it was, it came at too high a price, imho.

Oh, those dastardly Republicans... (4.00 / 1)
Deprive them of their 'control rods' and perhaps they will reach 'critical mass'. Persuading them to vote for constructive legislation is akin to getting Jack the Ripper to perform 'humanitarian outreach'!


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