The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: September 21, 2012 | Click here for NewsOK website
HERE’S an indicator of the unpopularity of President Barack Obama’s economic policies even in “yellow dog Democrat” regions: The Democratic candidate in the race to be Oklahoma’s 2nd District congressman is trying to tie his Republican opponent to Obama’s stimulus.
Rob Wallace calls Republican Markwayne Mullin a hypocrite because Mullin opposes wasteful federal spending, the Obama stimulus in particular, but indirectly benefitted from some stimulus funds. Mullin didn‘t personally seek stimulus funds. Rather, his company did plumbing jobs for entities that got stimulus funds.
Mullin’s company was paid $370,000 for plumbing work on Cherokee and Creek nation housing projects funded by federal stimulus dollars. The distinction between direct solicitation of stimulus funding and competitively bidding for a job is the difference between shoving your head in the trough and merely having slop spilled on you by others.
It’s a stretch to call Mullin a hypocrite because he indirectly benefitted from stimulus funding he opposed. In fact, Mullin deserves credit for being willing to advocate policies that could ultimately be against his own interests. If Wallace were campaigning as a full-throated opponent of Obama’s economic policy, we might forgive his rhetorical excesses. He’s not. In fact, on the “issues” page of Wallace’s campaign website, the stimulus isn’t even mentioned. Neither is Obamacare.
Wallace does criticize “bailing out banks and big insurance companies that caused our economic stress” without acknowledging such bailouts are part of the Obama philosophy he would be expected to support as a Democratic member of Congress. He also calls for “investing in infrastructure,” which supposedly was the goal of the stimulus. Those are the words of a politician trying to straddle both sides of an issue without acknowledging a contradiction exists. Or, as the Wallace campaign might put it, a hypocrite.
Wallace is attacking Mullin for opposing policies Wallace wants people to think he opposes, at least when it’s politically convenient. Wallace’s own business activities have drawn scrutiny for more serious reasons than whether federal money paid the tab. During the Democratic primary, Wallace was accused of owing back taxes on nine companies over a period of two decades.
The Wallace campaign said his involvement was only as an attorney, that he was paid at times with part-ownership of a business and quickly sold his share. Still, Wallace’s critique of Mullin’s business dealings amounts to chucking rocks from the porch of a glass house.
More importantly, Wallace and other Democrats act as though Americans can’t criticize federal spending unless they live off the grid in a wholly self-contained environment free of federal influence. They apparently think conservative critics of out-of-control government spending should drive in the ditch to avoid being a “hypocrite” for using a taxpayer-funded road.
Yet Americans have good reason to oppose the federal government’s spending spree. Federal government spending has increased $1 trillion since 2007. The four-year hike in borrowing amounts to $55,000 per household. The federal debt-to-GDP ratio is expected to hit 80.4 percent in two years. That’s unsustainable and a dire threat to future economic prosperity.
Those who would rein in spending, even at their own expense in the short term, are fighting to ensure our children and grandchildren enjoy a better standard of living than we did.
That’s not hypocrisy. It’s commendable.