by David Safier
Last night, I went to an uneventful town hall with Al Melvin. Pretty boilerplate stuff. No real surprises.
But one piece of boilerplate stuck with me. Melvin talked about the billions that will be floating Arizona's way courtesy of Obama's Stimulus Package. He seemed pretty pleased about it. There aren't too many strings attached, he said, so the Republicans won't be forced to spend the money on things they don't want.
Strings or no strings, this is a gift from Arizona's rich uncle — or, to be honest, our heavily indebted uncle — a gift that, according to all Congressional Republicans but three, is so wrongheaded and so burdensome to our children and grandchildren that they had not choice but to vote against it. Yet Arizona's very, very conservative legislators have their begging bowls extended.
What about all that living within our means stuff we keep hearing from the Republicans? What's with taking free gifts like a bunch of welfare queens? Doesn't that sap our spirit and turn us into helpless dependents? Aren't we teaching our children that it doesn't matter if we get ourselves into financial trouble, because someone will always be there to bail us out?
I'm guessing every R in the Arizona legislature, if they were in the U.S. Congress, would have voted down Obama's Stimulus Package just like their less conservative brothers and sisters. Yet the most conservative among them is perfectly willing to take the money. Captain Al seemed relieved the money was there, and they don't come much more conservative than Captain Al.
Are they hypocrites? Realists? Politicians who know they'd be booted out of office if they turned the money down? I'm guessing, the answer is all of the above.