In direct conflict with his months of criticizing the stimulus, George Allen spent the last two weeks touring and touting the economic successes of two Virginia firms that received millions in stimulus grants. One of them, Ennis Electric Company, Allen visited last week and left out of his praise for the company was the fact the firm has benefitted from nearly $14 million in stimulus funding.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, the Republican leadership's tether to the Tea Party, flutters the hearts of the government-bashing, budget-slicing faithful with his relentless attacks on runaway federal spending. To Cantor, an $8 billion high-speed rail connecting Las Vegas to Disneyland is wasteful "pork-barrel spending." The Virginia Republican set up the "You Cut" Web site to demonstrate how easy it is to slash government programs. And he made the Department of Housing and Urban Development the poster child for waste when he disclosed that the agency was paying for housing for Ph.D.s.Boy, when he thinks no one's listening, Cantor sounds ... well, downright progressive on government investment in high-speed rail, doesn't he?
But away from the cameras, Cantor sometimes pulls right up to the spending trough, including the very stimulus law he panned in public. Letters obtained by Newsweek show him pressing the Transportation Department to spend nearly $3 billion in stimulus money on a high-speed-rail project-not the one he derided in Nevada, but another in his home state. "Virginia ... will demonstrate that this historic investment in rail will create jobs, reduce congestion, spur economic growth and improve our environment," says a letter he signed with other Virginia members in October 2009, cribbing President Obama's own argument for the stimulus.
Cantor signed several such letters, including an earlier one seeking rail funds a month after he went on national television attacking the Vegas project.
But if that's how he feels about jobs bills like President Obama's American Jobs Act in private, why does he bash them in public? Why is he throwing up political roadblocks instead of trying to create more Virginia jobs? If you live in the 7th district, call Cantor's DC office at (202) 225-2815 or his Culpeper office at (540) 825-8960 and let us know what they say in comments.
Yesterday he was in Wytheville for Congressman Boucher's campaign kickoff and today he followed this event with an appearance with Tom Perriello; later scheduled in Hampton Roads for a function with Bobby Scott. After an introduction by Creigh Deeds, the large crowd at the Buena Vista Democratic Committee's 32nd Annual Labor Day breakfast was provided Webb's take on the message. Webb began by assessing that a year is a long time in politics and we found that out last year in the gubernatorial race.
"I want to say, those of us who have been working for you in Washington, we let Creigh down...He ran against the same person that he lost to by 360 ? ... 360 votes and look what happened last year. Creigh Deeds didn't change; Bob McDonnell didn't change; some of the issues in the country perhaps changed. But we let Creigh down by the way we put issues forward." - Senator Jim Webb
Even more malicious is the concerted effort by every Republican office-holder, conservative pundit, and Fox News (their agitprop machine), to convince the American public that Obama's stimulus has not worked. Constant repetition of a bald-faced lie has served them well in the past, and the Party of Malice, a name every bit as descriptive as "Party of No," is remarkably proficient now at manipulating public perception so as to create a self-fulfilling prophecy whenever they feel a need. We are being told a "double dip" recession is coming.
Rep. Tom Perriello, he of the shoe in the cowpie campaign commercial, really stepped in it last week. Perriello, under fire for his vote in favor of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, said the stimulus prevented another Great Depression.Hoo boy! That Tom Perriello TOTALLY stepped in it ... by defending a bill that lowered unemployment & increased GDP at a time of economic crisis.
"The Recovery Act helped avert a Great Depression that was looming when I was sworn in, and has put our country on a solid road to economic growth," Perriello said.
Perriello's comments followed the release of a report by the Congressional Budget Office that the stimulus now costs more - $814 billion instead of the original $787 billion - but that it had lowered unemployment and increased the gross domestic product.
Wait ... what?
To begin with, 52 percent of the undecideds in the Senate race "disapprove of President Obama," compared with 35 percent who said they liked the job he is doing. As for the Democrats in Congress, only 26 percent approved the job they were doing. On the other hand, they truly despised Congressional Republicans: a bare 10 percent liked the job they were doing and a resounding 61 percent disapproved. The voters may be unhappy with President Obama, but they are a whole lot unhappier with the Republican minority. So the anti-incumbent fervor that would normally rise up to throw the bums out is, well, confused. Public Policy Polling was ranked by The Wall Street Journal in November 2008 as one of the very best polling outfits when it came to swing states.
Well, the Conventional Wisdom is wrong.
A new poll by Gallup dated 17 June says that "Americans are most supportive of authorizing more economic stimulus spending." The poll found that 60 percent of Americans say they favor "additional government spending to create jobs and stimulate the economy."
Apparently the cacophony generated by the Petersen Foundation and the Republican minions of Wall Street/banksters about reducing the deficit is so far not resonating with the average voter, who appears to be more concerned with his own well being and ability to survive than with any possible future problems with the federal debt.
That says it all when it comes to deciding who benefits from imposing sudden, ruthless austerity in a time of economic troubles: the big rich investors; and who bears the pain: the average, middle class family. If we cut off federal stimulus now, to satisfy Big Money banks, we will kill the fragile recovery. Just what the Republicans ordered.