Monday, February 15, 2010

Money For Us, Not For Anybody Else

38-year-old Adam Schock, a U.S. Representative from the 18th congressional district in Illinois, may be "a very nice man," as Rachel Maddow (nice touch, R.M.) called him on Sunday's Meet The Press, but he couldn't have been very happy at what hit him. A figurative 2X4, it would appear. As Schock argued the importance of "creating certainty in the markets through certain tax incentives. And that's where we'll be on a jobs bill," host David Gregory responded "So it sounds like you're--you like what the Democrats are doing here?"

The following exchange (video below) ensued:

REP. SCHOCK: Well, I don't like all the pork that was in the bill. Seven hundred eighty-seven billion dollar stimulus bill, the largest spending bill in, in history, one of the reasons why it didn't create long-term growth is it didn't have stimulative tax cuts in it, but rather a lot of pork and spending.

MS. MADDOW: Which are the least stimulative things in the stimulus. I mean, when you assess what creates jobs, in the stimulus band it's the tax cuts that were put in in order to try to win Republican votes that didn't come anyway that are the least effective thing in the stimulus bill. So the theory doesn't match the practice here.

But, I mean, you, in your district...

REP. SCHOCK: Well, I, I can assure you...

MS. MADDOW: ...just this week you were at a community college touting a $350,000 green technology education program, talking about how great that was going to be for your district. You voted against the bill that created that grant. And so that's happening a lot with Republicans sort of taking credit for things that Democratic bills do, and then Republicans simultaneously touting their votes against them and trashing them. That's, I think, a, a, a problem that needs to be resolved within, within your caucus, because, I mean, you seem like a very nice person, but that's very hypocritical stance to take.

Schock shortly thereafter would plead "With all due respect, Rachel, does that mean you're going to give back your Bush tax cuts that you continue to rail against?" but the damage was done. Maddow didn't even respond to this false analogy. Schock might not have understood, or at least would have pretended not to understand, the critical distinction between not turning back to the federal government money you have saved by getting a tax cut, and "touting a $350,000" grant. There is nothing intellectually dishonest about a congressman voting against a stimulus package he believes does not serve the interests of the nation and then simply accepting the money from that program. But voting against the bill, then bragging about bringing the money to your district, is qualitatively different.

To be sure, it's not only Aaron Schock. It's almost a virus among GOP members of Congress. Shoot off your mouth about the evils of government spending while attacking the stimulus, then brag to your district about the money you've brought to it, or about the projects the funds brought about, or about its value to the district or state, or at least ask the federal government to steer money to your constituents.

Think Progress includes these House members among them: Representatives John Boehner of Ohio, the Minority Leader, Eric Cantor of Virginia, the Minority Whip; Jack Kingston of Georgia, Joseph Cao of Louisiana, Mary Fallin and Frank Lucas of Oklahoma; John Mica of Florida; Dan Lungren and Ken Calvert of California; Phil Gingrey of Georgia; Mike Coffman of Colorado, Dave Reichert of Washington; Heath Shuler (the only Democrat cited), Blue Dog of North Carolina; Bill Shuster and Glenn Thompson of Pennsylvania; Greg Walden of Oregon; Leonard Lance of New Jersey; Don Young of Alaska; Blaine Leutkemeyer of Missouri; Michael McCaul and Pete Olson of Texas; Geoff Davis of Kentucky; Pete Hoekstra of Michigan; and Adman Putnam, Cliff Stearns, Bill Posey, Tom Rooney, Ginny Brown-Waite, Mario Diaz-Balart, Lincoln Diaz-Balart, and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, all Florida Representatives who "signed letter asking federal government for waiver to access recovery funds." Senators include Republicans Mike Crapo of Idaho, Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, Kit Bond of Missouri, Richard Burr of North Carolina, Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isackson of Georgia, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Bob Bennett of Utah, and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

(In this video- way below- Maddow has a somewhat different list.)

This might be a case of I've Got Mine, Jack. Or, alternatively, maybe the Congressman really does understand the value of this approach in increasing employment, with the negative rhetoric and vote a matter of political posturing and strategy. Either way, if the mainstream media were not intimidated by the GOP, it might ask:

Why is there an apparent inconsistency? And the follow-up: why deny to the rest of the country the benefits of a program which aids your constituency?





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