Jennifer Steinhauer of the New York Times offered a story Thursday on already hypocritical freshman House Republicans favoring big-picture spending cuts, but fighting for local projects. The headline was "Gung-Ho for Big Cuts in Spending, Less Fond of the Ones That Hurt Back Home." Steinhauer reported: "While scores of congressmen and women are singing an ode to spending reductions with their Republican choir in Washington, back home, the tune sometimes changes...Such inconsistencies, while hardly new to this Congress, are political chum for Democrats."
That could be the slogan for The New York Times: "All the News That Is Political Chum for Democrats."
The first star of the story is Rep. Jamie Herrera Beutler of Washington state, who campaigned against the "stimulus" and voted for the $61 billion cut, but now wants to help secure a $10 million grant for the Port of Vancouver. It’s true that trillion-dollar deficits can be built out of local projects. But Steinhauer was helpfully setting up local Congressman Steve Israel from Long Island to lecture:
"You cannot vote to cut veterans’ benefits in Washington and then go pose for pictures with veterans back in the district," said Representative Steve Israel, who runs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. "There is a pattern of duplicity here, and we’re going to make sure it comes back to haunt them."
Steinhauer only suggested Israel might be overstating it, but then works to prove his point:
"Pattern" may be an overstatement, but there are several examples of members’ voting for cuts that they then deplore. Representative Bobby Schilling voted against rail financing for his district in Illinois, and later said that he did so only because he knew that the Senate would not sign off on the cut.
The whole story was about Republicans seeking federal spending for local projects (with one small appearance by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire helping Republicans on one). This idea of "duplicity" can be suggested by both sides. Can we presume that the New York Times was hot on the story every time Sen. Barack Obama posed for pictures with veterans in Illinois -- after he said Iraq was a "dumb war"? Or is that not a story that can be used on The Rachel Maddow Show?