“Republican presidential contenders have crisscrossed the nation bashing President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus plans as a colossal waste of taxpayer money. But with an awkward frequency, these same candidates are campaigning at businesses that benefited from the president’s landmark stimulus package.
With the cameras rolling, the Republicans celebrate the hard work of local entrepreneurs in places like Pella, Iowa, and Milford, N.H., while later condemning the federal resources that helped those entrepreneurs navigate the economic downturn.
This phenomenon has produced negative media attention in isolated cases, but taken together the visits highlight the candidates’ complicated relationships with the $78 billion stimulus program many Republican primary voters hate. The issue also underscores the often hypocritical nature of American politics — politicians usually oppose the other party’s policies, but support the people who benefit from them. The apparent inconsistencies offer opponents — Republicans and Democrats alike — fuel for political attacks.
Liberal attack groups, expected to play a significant role as the presidential contest goes forward, will ensure such questions are not lost on voters.
“Nothing raises the hypocrisy meter faster than the Republican presidential candidates talking about the economic recovery act. They love to pander to their base by demonizing the bill, yet they are all too eager to seek funding for projects in their district, to use federal dollars to balance their state’s budget, or to hold campaign events at successful companies who received stimulus funding,” said Ty Matsdorf, spokesman for the independent political group American Bridge, recently established to help Democrats.”
Published: Sep 15, 2011