Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona has been a conservative critic of Obama tax and spend policies and, in particular, of the “no stimulus” Stimulus bill. In a show of Chicago-style politics operating out of the White House, Obama is hitting Senator Kyl hard where it hurts, in his home state.
The Stimulus Bill has money for all sorts of “buy into Obama” projects; dollars replace ethics and purchase support for the administration.
The White House recently released letters from four cabinet secretaries to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, a Republican, that cite Kyl's comments and outlining transportation, housing, Indian education and other projects in his home state they said would be eliminated if the senator has his way and unnecessary money is cut from the Stimulus Bill. Kyl has said the stimulus spending hasn't succeeded in boosting the economy and that it's adding to the deficit. He has on his Senate Web site comments to the effect that spending not already allocated be halted.
Obama shrewdly placed Rhino Republicans in his cabinet and at least one rewarded Obama with an attack on a fellow Republican. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, one of two Republicans in Obama's cabinet, made no attempt to conceal his criticism of Kyl for trying to save tax payer money.
LaHood wrote Arizona Governor Brewer. "If you prefer to forfeit the money we are making available to your state, as Senator Kyl suggests, please let me know."
LaHood noted in the letter that at least $520.9 million of the $48 billion for transportation projects under the economic recovery act are intended for Arizona projects, including transit projects in Phoenix.
Obama’s Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Arizona would lose $45 million for 500 single-family housing loans if projects not already under way were canceled. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan said the state would forfeit $73 million his department oversees, including $22 million for homeless programs.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, a Westerner who formerly served with Kyl in the Senate, didn't mention the Arizonan by name in his letter, but referred to "some key Republican leaders in Congress." He said the state would lose $60 million for Bureau of Indian Education schools, among other money.
The Obama underhanded approach is working: The governor’s spokesman Paul Senseman said the governor wants Arizona taxpayers to "receive their fair share" of any stimulus dollars.
"We certainly hope that they're somehow not threatening Arizona's portion of federal funding based on their disagreement with Senator Kyl," Senseman said.
Phoenix mayor Phil Gordon, a Democrat, said he called Brewer's office requesting that the governor continue to accept stimulus money. He also sent letters to cabinet officials volunteering Phoenix to act as a fiduciary for all Arizona stimulus funds if Brewer were to turn them down.
"The Senator is 2,000 miles away," Gordon said at a news conference Tuesday. "We're here trying to build roads and put people to work."
One of the few coming to Kyl’s defense was the president of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry; he posted an article on the chamber's Web site under the headline: "Don't Bully Arizona."
"It is one thing to joust with Senator Kyl over his position, but it is an entirely different matter for Cabinet secretaries to write letters to the chief executive of a state and threaten funding if support isn't provided," wrote Glen Hamer.
On Sunday, Kyl said of stimulus spending that "the reality is it hasn't helped yet." He said it may be years before all the money gets spent and that the economy could recover before then.
"Only about 6.8 percent of the money has actually been spent. What I proposed is, after you complete the contracts that are already committed, the things that are in the pipeline, stop it," Kyl told ABC's "This Week."
Last week, Kyl argued in a column posted on his Senate Web site that the economic stimulus program has been a failure. He said he agreed with those who "want to cancel the rest of the stimulus spending."
Of course Senator Kyl is correct; that’s what steams the Obama Chicago-style machine in the White House – can’t have anyone oppose the grand Obama plan to create dependency on tax payer money to implement the government control strategy.