“And I love my friend here. I — I’m not allowed to show letters but go on our website, he sent me two letters saying, ‘By the way, can you send me some stimulus money for companies here in the state of Wisconsin?’ We sent millions of dollars. You know ...”
That acerbic comment from Vice President Joe Biden turned his Republican challenger, Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, into a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar.
And Biden wasn’t done.
When the moderator for the vice presidential debate two weeks ago asked Ryan if he had requested stimulus funds, Biden interjected:
“Sure he did. By the way …”
Ryan sheepishly replied:
“On two occasions we — we — we advocated for constituents who were applying for grants. That’s what we do. We do that for all constituents who are...”
The vice president pounced again.
“I love that. I love that. This was such a bad program and he writes me a letter saying — writes the Department of Energy a letter saying, ‘The reason we need this stimulus, it will create growth and jobs.’ His words. And now he’s sitting here looking at me.”
Can anyone spell GOPer Hypocrite?
But it isn’t only Ryan who has been demagoguing this issue. Starting in 2009 when the recovery act was passed in the House with no Republican support and in the Senate with only three moderate Republicans, the GOP has characterized it as the biggest economic scam perpetrated on the American people by President Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats.
Speaker of the House
Indeed, Ohio’s own congressman, John Boehner, speaker of the House of Representatives, has reveled in the fact that not one member of his caucus in Congress voted for the $787 billion package.
The Republicans have been unrelenting in their criticism of the stimulus bill — leading fair-minded people to conclude that all those who voted “no” stood on principle, telling the Obama administration they wanted nothing to do with the money. Unfortunately, such a conclusion would simply serve to confirm the belief of these political hypocrites that the American people are too stupid to know when they’re being scammed.
Just look at what has occurred in Ohio, which will decide the Nov. 6 presidential election.
The state has received more than $17 billion in stimulus funds, which is not surprising given its size and its economic importance. But here’s the Kodak moment: Of the 18 congressional districts, 13 are in the hands of Republicans, including House Speaker Boehner.
Did he or any of his Republican colleagues tell President Obama not to fund projects in their districts, or to send stimulus money to Ohio for roads and bridges, job-training programs, housing or military installations?
Of course not.
Did Boehner, whose 8th District includes suburban areas around Cincinnati and Dayton, urge Washington not to send $948 million and $368 million, respectively, to those two cities?
Did Congressman Steve Stivers, R-Ripley, whose 15th District is made up of Madison and Union counties and parts of Franklin County, tell the federal government not to funnel $5.2 billion through his district?
Or how about Republicans Jean Schmidt, Steven Chabot, and Bob Gibbs, whose districts were the recipients of $497 million, $334 million and $301 million, respectively.
At this point, it is important to note that not all the money assigned to a congressional district is only for local projects. However, borrowing a page from the Republican’s handbook entitled, “Don’t let the facts get in the way of a good political stunt,” this writer will not detail how Stivers’ district, for instance, ended up with $5 billion.
Why waste a good column with the facts? Or, as Speaker Boehner and his cohorts would quip, “Why waste a good political issue with the truth?”
Suffice it to say that most of the $17 billion sent to Ohio ended up in Republican congressional districts.
You certainly won’t hear any of them say, “My district received stimulus dollars and I’m mad as hell. I don’t need no stinkin’ help from that Socialist Obama.”
Vice President Biden’s verbal smackdown of Congressman Ryan should be repeated throughout the country in the waning days of the election.