Hollow Weenies

From Newsweek/THE DAILY BEAST:

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.

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.

monsterhouseOriginal DVD cover

As the government showdown over debt continues—the so-called congressional supercommittee negotiating cuts has been floundering for weeks—Newsweek found about five dozen of the most fiscally conservative Republicans, from Tea Party freshmen like Allen West to anti-spending presidential candidates like Rick Perry and Ron Paul, trying to gobble up the very largesse they publicly disown, in the time-honored, budget-busting tradition of bringing home the bacon for local constituents.

The stack of spending-request letters between these GOP members and federal agencies stands more than a foot tall, and disheartens some of the activists who sent Republicans to Washington in the last election.

“It’s pretty disturbing,” says Judson Phillips, founder of Tea Party Nation, when told about the stack of letters from members, many of whom he supported in 2010.


Many of the letters seek to tap the stimulus, clean-energy loans, and innovation grants—programs the same Republicans have accused Obama and the Democrats of using to bloat government and jeopardize America’s future.


Seizing on the Obama administration’s decision to make a risky half-billion-dollar loan to a struggling solar firm named Solyndra, Republicans like House Speaker John Boehner and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Darrell Issa have recently accused Democrats of trying to pick winners and losers and questioned the need for the Energy Department loan-guarantee program at the center of the controversy.

But both Boehner and Issa struck a different tone in requests for help from that program in their home states: Boehner for a uranium project in Ohio, and Issa for an electric-car company in California.


Fred Upton, the House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman, who is currently investigating Solyndra and other parts of the stimulus, himself appealed to Energy Secretary Steven Chu and other Energy officials in 2009 for similar grants.


[…]Texan Ron Paul, also a government basher on the campaign trail, has participated, too. Between December 2009 and last fall, Paul wrote three letters to top Transportation Department officials seeking more than $150 million to finish a high-speed-rail project in Texas. “This potential lack of sufficient funding will severely limit future projects and the full implementation of true high speed rail,” he and 10 colleagues pleaded to Joseph Szabo, head of the Federal Railroad Administration.


Likewise, presidential hopeful Rep. Michele Bachmann, the Minnesota Republican who formed the Tea Party caucus in Congress, asked the Transportation Department in April for $750,000 in federal money to boost passenger traffic at a small airport in St. Cloud, Minn. (population: 65,000).


Personal benefits also come in the form of farm subsidies. Rep. Marlin Stutzman, a junior Republican from Indiana who came to Washington in 2010 to limit government, lamented this year that “the president believes that ‘investing’ is spending more taxpayer dollars. It is time to invest in the nation’s future by controlling spending.”

But in 2010, the same year he entered Congress, Stutzman collected $4,061 in farm payments from the Department of Agriculture. Since 1997, his family has received $183,431 to grow corn, soybeans, and wheat.


Even Tea Party icon Allen West of Florida has gotten into “lettermarking,” a Washington term to describe efforts to seek money for pet projects. Though he’s just 10 months in office, the House freshman has already written at least four letters seeking federal largesse for his district, including one asking to fund a pedestrian pathway in Riviera Beach, Fla. Twice in the letter West vows the project “will create better access to jobs and services.”

West offered a different take the next day during a speech to a local Chamber of Commerce chapter that protesters came to picket: “The people outside don’t understand,” he told the business leaders. “Government does not create jobs.” When asked about the discrepancy, Angela Sachitano, a spokesman for West, said the congressman has been “consistent” in his support of some spending—so long as it’s done fairly, and benefits his district.


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23 responses to “Hollow Weenies

  1. Do you suppose that the Republicans got a group discount on the conscience-ectomies?

    • nah. they were born without consciences. no need for removal.

    • gregg

      No doubt. And I bet the surgeon did the removals laparoscopically. Entering through the ear, finding nothing, then moving down to the heart, the chamber for which was of course empty, and then finally locating a hard, pea sized conscience stuck in the colon along with numerous diverticular abscesses all of which had been rotting and causing belches of absurd, nasty ideation for years.

  2. But these are all “Family Values” folks — hypocrisy and lying with a straight face are the values they cherish most.

    • it’s not lying if you’re a rethuglican. that’s the only time they see nuances of meaning. for anyone else, the world is black and white, so everyone else is always wrong.

  3. jay

    I’m very glad you casted Boehner. He’s a natural for Halloween.

  4. John Erickson

    Pro-cutters actually trying to sneak some pork for themselves? Whodda thunk? Next thing you’re gonna tell me is Herman Cain has a background of sexual abuse charges!
    What’s that?
    He DOES?
    That Nonnie always has the dirt! Rats! (Stomps off, muttering. 😉 )

  5. maggiejean

    Such hypocrisy by the elected tea bagger members. Only their districts deserve government handouts.

  6. I was working in the Congress late one night
    When my eyes beheld an eerie sight
    From the halls a monster began to rise
    And suddenly to my surprise

    He did the mash
    He did the GOP mash
    The GOP mash
    It was a fascist smash
    He did the mash
    It caught on in a flash
    He did the mash
    He did the GOP mash

    I am actually watching Night of the Living Dead
    its fun to see Romney, Santorum and Perry taking on roles that represent their real life

    • ♪ bravo, dcAp ♫

      i was thinking of doing an entire week of halloween movies, but now i’m thinking that maybe i should have done that last week leading up to halloween.

  7. Boner looks so natural as a pumpkin. And Can’t-or playing his usual role of the token. I feel the urge to dress up in my steel toed safety shoes, thick tube socks, my blue Dickies with my tool belt and pretend I’m someone with a job…..hows about a cool poster of Parry in his latest aperition…I think he’s “on the dope”….you could use one of those fantastic covers of Dope Comix from Rip Off Press.

    • bronzo the clown was a last-minute addition. i’ve been distracted all day, because my fridge, old frosty, is making absolutely horrible sounds since last night. old frosty is 21 years old, and i thought he breathed his last, but he keeps on running (very, very loudly), at least so far. of course, this had to happen when i’ve been feeling crappy and when there has been almost nonstop torrential rain. i got to lowes and looked at the fridges. there were a couple i liked, but according to my measurements, it was uncertain if they’d be too tall by a mere 1/4″. i was given instructions to remeasure. i really wanted a 25 or 26 cubic foot fridge, but most of them are 68″ tall or more. i got home (after buying a new tape measure so i could be precise) and remeasured. 68 1/2″!!! yay!!! 😀 but hold on for the punchline. the space is only 35″ wide, and the fridges i liked were 35 1/2″! 😡 sunuvabitch!!!! so, back to the drawing board. i’ve been looking online for fridges that will fit and that won’t cost me an arm and a leg. i’ll have to get a slightly less than 22 cubic foot fridge. lowes had a couple of them, and they’ll lower the price to what i found at other stores. the problem? the smaller fridges are not as in demand as the larger ones, so they don’t keep them in stock. they’ll have to order one, and it might take 2 weeks to get it. i don’t know if old frosty will last that long. my neighbor came over, and he said it was probably the compressor making all the noise, and it might need freon. i don’t want to call a repairman, because what’s the sense in fixing a 21-year-old fridge that tends to freeze stuff in the fridge section and only sometimes freeze the stuff in the freezer? what a dilemma. i checked other stores, and it’s the same story. of course, once i replace old frosty, i’ll have to get a new stove, dishwasher, and microwave, or nothing will match. oh, the joys of home ownership. you need to move closer, jerry. i know you could rip out those cabinets so that i could get any size fridge i want. new appliances are going to make my ugly cabinets even uglier.

      anyway….as i was saying, i was distracted. i don’t know why it took me so long to connect bronzo the clown and a pumpkin.

      i never heard of dope comix before. i’ll have to google and see what they’re like.

  8. Tou would be amazed at what one can do with a sabre saw. When I did the kitchen remodel here, we had that same problem of half an inch too much height so I just whacked off an inch to the width and ended with a tasteful little swirl transition. And if that fails, you grab the sawsall and bugger all! We put up new cabinets and countertop and stove and sink since sis likes to spend the big money she makes doing the travel nurse thing. With your old units you can take the doors off and rub some of that high grade furniture oil that would bring out the grain. If they are painted, just paint them again…..you can’t beat underground comix for original art, I’ve got a foot tall stack from the old counter-culture days…we’re not hippies, we’re FREAKS!

  9. “Y” ? because we like you….m.i.c…..k.e.y…….

    • i like you, too, jer-ry! 😉

      the things i learn when i go shopping at hardware and appliance stores! it never occurred to me to see if there was a lip on the bottom of the cabinet that could be shaved down to make a little bit more room. that tidbit would have come in very handy if the width hadn’t become the deciding issue. i stopped at a couple of stores today, and i did my research online, and i wound up at hh gregg. i asked for the same salesman as i talked to back in july, and he appreciated that i asked for him. he gave me a pretty good deal, so i bought not only the fridge, but a stove, dishwasher, and microwave. he gave me the same prices he gives contractors. of course, i though he was probably bullshitting me, but when i got home, i googled, and he really did give me excellent prices. everything will be here saturday. they’ll make the rest of my kitchen look like shit.

      here’s a pic of the set i bought.

      • Fancy shmancy! Those cabinets in the photo remind me of some we installed in a 33rd floor condo remodel at the FW Tower. The Doc had ordered the pearwood units from Switzerland and paid $60,000 for them.