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 February, 2009


 Republican Stimulus Hot Air

Rewriting Reality

I could hardly believe my ears two Sundays ago when Republican (John Ensign, NV) answered the assertion that without the stimulus plan, many police officers and firefighters would lose their jobs. “You, know, that’s just fear mongering. We’re not going to do that in any of the states,” Ensign replied.

Here’s my official invitation for Ensign to visit Uniontown, Pennsylvania - and dozens of communities across this country.
The conservative whining over the economic stimulus plan reached a fever pitch the following Friday, when angry Republicans flew into a phony rage.
They took turns reminding everybody that a vote for the stimulus proposal was really a vote for an end to life as we know it.

Some Republicans who’d been calling the stimulus nothing but a “spending bill,” called it a “welfare bill.”

Desperation caused conservatives to unleash that old bogeyman. What was there left to lose, but their dignity?

There were the frequent claims there hadn’t been enough time to read the entire bill before they were asked to vote on it. No wonder there were those preposterous statements about things that weren’t in it. There were the repeated misrepresentations that stimulus money would save mice in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s congressional district. Even the Republican staffer who sent out the email making that claim admitted it wasn’t true. That didn’t deter members of congress from bringing it up all day. There’s never been any provision for “Pelosi’s mice.”

There’s that oft repeated falsehood the stimulus will lead to government control of health care.

The passage used by conservatives that even remotely deals with health care, only covers sharing information to streamline treatment. Daily provocateur Rush Limbaugh got caught in the silliest fib. According to Limbaugh, the stimulus made available to congress wasn’t “searchable.”
He claimed (without the benefit of a third grader with a computer) that a non-searchable stimulus plan was proof-positive Democrats didn’t want anybody knowing what was in it.

Sorry. Before congress had been called to order that Friday, I’d already conducted a number of such searches. Want proof? I’d heard there’d been lots of no-bid contract proposals within the stimulus. (The better to hand out money to friends of Democrats) Well, if there are any of those, I couldn’t find any. My “search” did produce 26 references to competitive bids.

All of that talk about ACORN reaping benefits from the stimulus? My “searches” failed to find the word ACORN.

David Drier (R-Ca.), by the way, did utter one truth.

He quoted a December 1962 speech by Pres. John F. Kennedy that called for restraint in government spending. “The federal government's most useful role is not to rush into a program of excessive increases in public expenditures, but to expand the incentives and opportunities for private expenditures,'' he’d said.
Drier should’ve quit while he was ahead. “He had just brought about broad, across-the-board, marginal rate reduction,” he added. Wrong. Kennedy’s speech was in 1962. The Revenue Act of 1964 wasn’t passed until several months after his assassination.

And further, while Kennedy had expressed a strong desire for tax reform, Republicans of the day still weren’t in his corner. Coincidentally, they were some of the same Republicans who’d called his platform “pure socialism” when he ran for the presidency in 1960.
Sound familiar?

The Friday of the stimulus debate, I counted no less than eight Republicans hailing Kennedy’s tax cuts as the prudent way to go. I wonder why then, in November of 1963, the engineer of the modern conservative movement – Sen. Barry Goldwater – chastised Kennedy and his economic policies. "What confidence can those men and women have in economic theories vested in depression, born of depression, and dependent upon doles,” he asked.

In fact, Goldwater voted against Kennedy’s (and Pres. Lyndon Johnson’s) tax reform bill when it reached the Senate. Admittedly, Goldwater’s contributions to the modern conservative movement did make history. He set into motion theories that have been used for decades. Even, I guess, his penchant for saying “no.”

Unfortunately, his disciples are no longer interested in writing history.

They just want to re-write it.

Edward A. Owens of Uniontown is Webmaster of “Red Raider Nation: Where Champions Live.” E-mail him at freedoms@bellatlantic.net