In Oct. 23 IssueRussell County NewsBy Kathy Foley, Columnist
It seems every Republican campaign ad these days makes reference to the "failed" stimulus bill. (And that includes all those anonymously funded ads that are also backing the Republicans.)
It really galls me because as I have pointed out in a previous column many of those very same Republicans are imploring various departments of the federal government to give them some of those "failed" stimulus dollars to "create jobs" in their districts and states. How is this possible? How can they claim that the stimulus has failed on the one hand and then on the other hand beg for some of the "failed" stimulus dollars because it will create jobs? For one thing, they can do it because they have absolutely no scruples whatsoever. For another, they truly believe that if they continue to tell us the same lie long enough, we'll believe it. (Sadly, that is true for the Fox News (?) junkies and those who feed at the trough of Glenn Beck & Rush Limbaugh.)
On October 17, 2010, The Center for Public Integrity published an article entitled "Stimulating Hypocrisy: Scores of Recovery Act Opponents Sought Money out of Public View." According to its mission statement, "The Center for Public Integrity is a nonprofit organization dedicated to producing original, responsible investigative journalism on issues of public concern. The Center is non-partisan and non-advocacy. We are committed to transparent and comprehensive reporting both in the United States and around the world."
Our own Mitch McConnell has publicly and enthusiastically voiced his disdain and contempt for the stimulus bill-at one point in the Senate chamber saying, "I think the stimulus was a big mistake. I think we can fairly safely declare it now a failure." We now know that he has written five letters to the Transportation Secretary seeking stimulus money and explaining why it is so important to the economy of Kentucky. In one, dated September 1, 2009, McConnell wrote, "…In short, supporting Appalachian railroads has the potential to attract industry, create jobs and move goods through areas underserved by national highways." In another letter of the same date requesting funds in partnership with Indiana for an Ohio River bridge between Milton, Kentucky and Madison, Indiana, he wrote, "…In short, replacing this hazardous bridge will improve and preserve these river communities." In a third dated September 10, 2009, he wrote, "…In short, making these necessary improvements will enable Paducah and the region to improve its economy and make for a more efficient transportation system…" On September 24, 2009, he wrote another letter and again on September 29, 2009, he wrote requesting funds to construct off-road trails and bike paths in and around Bowling Green, saying "…In short, making these necessary enhancements will enable Warren County to improve roadways, bike routes and trails to better preserve natural resources and promote the region's economy." [Emphasis Added in all quotes.] But, you don't have to take my word for it; you can read all of McConnell's letters at http://www.publicintegrity.org/project_assets/2010/10/stimulus_letters/kentucky/transpo/KY%20-%20McConnell.pdf.
Of course McConnell wasn't the only opponent to request stimulus funds that they claimed would create jobs and improve the economy of their particular state--far from it. Pete Sessions from Dallas, Texas, criticized the Recovery Act as a wasteful "trillion dollar spending spree" that was "more about stimulating the government and rewarding political allies than growing the economy and creating jobs." Then almost simultaneously wrote to the Transportation Secretary requesting $81 million for a project in a suburb of Dallas. In the letter he said, "Carrolton's project will create jobs, stimulate the economy, improve regional mobility and reduce pollution."
Even the most anti-big government Tea Party darlings like Scott Brown, Michele Bachmann, and John McCain were among the dozens with their hands out proclaiming that the funds would promote job growth. But, again, you don't have to believe me. Read the letters for yourself at http://www.publicintegrity.org/articles/entry/2532/. You can read the article and click on a link to read the letters from every member of Congress who lobbied for funds and exactly how they claimed it would benefit their state or region.
But whatever you do, don't forget the stimulus was a failure.