Darrell Issa (R-CA), House Ranking Minority Member, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, has famously stood up to the manipulative and coercive tactics that have become the staple characteristic of the Obama Administration.
Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) in July appeared on national T.V. and publicly questioned the continued viability of the “Stimulus Bill,” indicating that its performance has fallen short of the stated goals of the Obama Administration in terms of job creation and has sent the economy into a further decline due to massive spending, adding to the the national debt.
Senator Kyl suggested that portions beyond what is currently engaged might be better put to use in other areas, such as road and highway improvement and healthcare. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uL35WOWNkVA
As it turns out, his expressed sentiments, shared by many Democrats and Republicans alike, were not well received by Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s Chief of Staff. Despite flailing poll numbers reflecting decreasing confidence in Obama Administration policies, Rahm Emanuel resorted to his usual spasmodic, schoolyard tantrum in retaliation for the negative opinion.
In an act that can only be regarded as government mafioso blackmail, Emanuel directed that four letters be sent to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, among them one each from the Secretary of Transportation and the Secretary of the Interior, suggesting that state funding would be pulled.
Letter from Ray LaHood, Secretary of Transportation:
“On Sunday, Arizona Senator Jon Kyl publicly questioned whether the stimulus is working and stated that he wants to cancel projects that aren’t presently underway. I believe the stimulus has been very effective in creating job opportunities throughout the country. However, if you prefer to forfeit the money we qre making available to your state, as Senator Kyl suggests, please let me know [emphasis added].
Letter from Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior:
Some key Republican leaders in Congress have publicly questioned whether the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is working and suggested cancelling all projects that are not currently in progress. I believe they are wrong. The stimulus funds provided through the Recovery Act are a very effective way to create job opportunities throughout the Country. However, if you prefer to forfeit the money we are making available to Arizona, please let me know [emphasis added].
On August 4th, Darrell Issa, indicating the launching of an investigation by the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, fired off to Emanuel a letter that in no uncertain terms consisted of a rebuke of Emanuel’s “Chicago-style” tactics and a chastizing for his complete disregard for the democratic process.
“As you know, Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) recently raised questions about the failure of the stimulus and suggested on a national television show that stimulus money scheduled to be spent in future years ought to be returned to the American taxpayers. Following Senator Kyl’s remarks, according to Politico, you coordinated an “assault” on Senator Kyl and other critics of your policies by directing four cabinet secretaries to write to Jan Brewer, the Governor of Arizona, asking pointedly if, in light of Senator Kyl’s remarks, Governor Brewer wished to forfeit taxpayer money directed to Arizona by the stimulus. These tactics have been characterized as “a fist to the nose” and a message to “Back off.” While this type of scare tactic may work in Chicago, it will not work to intimidate me or other Members of the United States Congress.”
“I thought the outdated and discredited Keynesian economic theory behind your effort was misguided and I opposed the stimulus. Unfortunately, recent economic data has validated my opposition. The U.S. economy lost 433,000 jobs in June, bringing the unemployment rate to 9.5%. These job losses come on the heels of other declining economic indicators, and bring the total number of American jobs lost since President Obama took office to over 2.6 million. I and others have dared to bring these facts to the attention of President Obama, the Congress and the American people. You’ve unfortunately reacted by once again [italics mine] resorting to the playbook of the Chicago political machine.”
“Politico reports that in response to these letters, Governor Brewer “knew she’d been thrown a high, hard one.” The president of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry felt the need to respond to these tactics by penning a column under the headline: “Mr. President: Don’t Bully Arizona.” At what point do you believe your practice of Chicago-style politics violates a public official’s right to speak out in favor of alternative policies? The American people have a right to know what role you played in developing the threatening letters to Governor Brewer and whether you intend to continue to engage in these tactics in the future.”
“Since I represent a district in the great state of Califomia, I hope that you will not
take this letter as an indication of Governor Schwarzenegger’s position on stimulus funds
dedicated to California nor his position on any other public policy issue. I can assure you that any attempt to intimidate me or silence my criticism of the stimulus through such Chicago-style tactics will be futile.”
Darrell Issa has demanded a formal response by Tuesday, August 11th, from Rahm Emanuel to the following points:
1. Your response to Politico’s report that “White House chief of staff Rahm
Emanuel directed that the letters from the Cabinet secretaries be sent to
[Governor] Brewer, according to two administration officials.”
2. A full and complete explanation of the development of the four July 13 letters
from the cabinet secretaries to Governor Brewer, including but not limited to the
role you or any other White House official played in writing the letters or
encouraging the writing of the letters.
3. All records and communications between you and Secretary LaHood, Secretary
Salazar, Secretary Donovan, and Secretary Vilsack refening or relating to the
decision to send the July 13 letters to Governor Brewer.
4. A full and complete explanation of the role of the Democratic National
Committee and the White House Office of Political Affairs in authoring,
encouraging, facilitating, or directing the four July 13 letters from the cabinet
secretaries to Governor Brewer.
As aptly put by magdeburgerjoe.com:
“The Rahm Emanuel bare knuckles style of dealing with the Republican opposition is turning a lot of people off. Rahm Emanuel and his handlers will ultimately have to face the American people. Regardless of the trust placed in Obama by the American electorate, his ideas about the economy face determined and well reasoned opposition. The ideas of fiscal responsibility and helping the economy heal itself have bipartisan support. The difficult times we are coping with should be faced by the American people as a united front. The strength and resonance of ideas should rule, and not the party label. Chicago (or New York) style arm twisting has no place in discussions this critical to our nation’s funeral.”
“My personal opinion is that a diminished Democratic plurality would force the proponents of fiscal irresponsibility to listen to reason. This is what arm twisting is meant to be in a democratic society. Rahm Emanuel has shown us with unadorned frankness what sort of America Obama seeks to create. The Democrats deserve credit. They are willing to fight hard for the sort of America they want. What about the GOP. Are they up for the fight?”
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Meanwhile, a spat seems to be developing between liberal organizations and Emanuel. Liberal organizations, like Democracy For America, are using their funding to target both Democrat and Republican members of Congress to rally support for the one-payer, socialized Health Care bill currently in the Senate. True to form, Emanuel has warned these organizations to stop targeting Democrats. According to Politico, “The liberal groups say they have no intention of pulling down ads aimed at Democrats – and note that they’re also targeting Republicans.”
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