I Got Pawlenty of Nothing — and Nothing’s Got Pawlenty of Me


By Elizabeth Burke
Special to the Clyde Fitch Report

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “hypocrite” as a person who “puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion” and “a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings.” Synonyms include: charlatan, fraud, phony, dissembler, double-dealer and pretender. Now, for politicians, being called a hypocrite simply comes with the job. There is nothing newsworthy about it, being a part of the political game.

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Take Minnesota governor and Presidental wannabe Tim Pawlenty. Nearly one-third of the governor’s current budget fix would rely on $387 million in federal stimulus money.

Federal money, that is, that the pandering Pawlenty earlier claimed he did not want and would not vote for. This only makes him look like a giant flip-flopper as he stands in line to take what he says he doesn’t really want. Sen. Christopher S. Bond of Missouri is another Republican one who blasts out-of-control government spending and then reaches out, recently grabbing $50 million for two projects in his home state.

The hubris these two men project is so wildly and outlandishly hypocritical that one would think I’m writing a treatment of a slapstick comedy about two lying, immoral, stereotypical politicians speaking out of both sides of their mouths only to be shown up and taken down by dopey yet lovable liberal-cum-moral saviors.

Funny in a movie, maybe, but shameful in real life. But then, it seems we’re living in an age of shameful actions — and some of these hypocrites really constitute a League of Extraordinary, Un-Gentlemanly Gentlemen. The Republicans are so wrapped up in their fear of the teabaggers and other assorted right-wing-fringe movements, in fact, that they have no ability to speak straight anymore. Instead, they give speeches and wave red-meat flags about Obama’s socialist dictatorship and the unraveling of the Constitution (which so many Americans have never actually read) in order to assure the old white Republican — and increasingly inconsequential — base that nothing Obama does will work and, by God, they won’t accept any federal stimulus money no matter how desperately they need it. Yes, our schools are falling apart, yes, our roads are crumbling, yes, our bridges are too unsafe to use, yes, we cannot pay for more police or more firefighters, yes, they will cut their state’s share of Medicare, but I (fill in GOP leader name) will not take this money!

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And then they do.

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At least Bob McDonnell, the new governor of Virginia, hedged his bets during last year’s campaign so that when he did take federal stimulus money, he didn’t seem so duplicitous, according to TalkingPointsMemo.com:

One year ago, McDonnell told reporters the stimulus plan “is not going to be good long-term for America,” though he did say according to the Virginian-Pilot that the Commonwealth should still “collect its share of the stimulus anyway.”

So, in the end, McDonnell took $24 million to create an office of Health Information Technology and “a program helping Virginia doctors transition to electronic medical records.” Hmmm…I believe this is exactly the sort of program President Obama has been suggesting since the early days of his campaign. Glad you’re finally on board, Governor.

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I’m not sure what political strategy the GOP is using here. It could be they’re so clever that not all is as it seems. Maybe they have a super-secret, brilliant plan up their sleeves. If not — well, when Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), the minority leader of the House and one of the chief GOP naysayers, says that stimulus funds would create “much needed jobs,” I literally sit down and wait for the punch line. This is the guy who has repeatedly attacked the President on every single plan, projection and proposed legislation his administration has created. Boehner and his ilk are so scared of losing their jobs they will say and do anything the radical-right-wing fringe groups tell them to. They voted against the stimulus bill before they were for it. They sacrificed jobs that could be saved or created for their constituents.

The hypocrisy is stunning and pervasive — I simply do not have the column space to show you the more than 111 Republican officials who publicly refused any use of stimulus money, some even voting twice against it, and then turned around and welcomed this cash infusion with open arms and grasping claws. Read this article from Think Progress and see if you can get to the end without ripping your eyes out in sheer frustration.

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Amazing, right?

Now that the money is flowing out of Washington and into the states, the numbers show this stimulus — er, “jobs” bill is working. The money the GOP tried to block has created 595,263 new jobs as of last Dec. 31; IHS Global Insight, Macroeconomic Advisers and Moody’s all estimate the bill has added 1.6 million to 1.8 million jobs so far and that its ultimate impact will be roughly 2.5 million jobs. The Congressional Budget Office, an independent agency, considers these estimates to be conservative.

I say now is the time for the GOP fraudsters to pay the piper. We live in the age of 24-hour documentation. We already know they say anything to appease those teabaggers who love hearing “no” to anything coming out of the Obama Administration while being completely disingenuous — no, hypocritical — about it. We also have interviews and video showing just how much dissembling they really engage in. Yes, they have the right to say whatever they want to save their jobs. But be careful. While words are one thing, actions are something else.

Elizabeth Burke, a New York-based actor, has been involved in politics since her first campaign at age 16. Burke’s Law does not necessarily represent the views of The Clyde Fitch Report.

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