Sen. Cornyn Defends GOP's Stimulus Hypocrisy: "No Contradiction"

February 17, 2010 12:01 pm ET — Matt Finkelstein

One year ago today, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, otherwise known as the stimulus package, into law.  Since then, Republican lawmakers who voted against the bill have routinely insisted that it failed, even while taking credit for its success in their home districts. 

Now, the media is finally forcing Republicans to answer for their hypocrisy. The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday on "more than a dozen" congressional Republicans who "supported stimulus-funding requests" after opposing the bill.  Later in the afternoon, Fox News' Neil Cavuto hosted Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-OH) and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), whom he accused of sending a "mixed message" and being "very selective in your rage."  

But Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), one of the lawmakers named in the WSJ report, does not believe there's anything wrong with Republicans seeking recovery funding.  On Twitter today, Cornyn wrote:   

On the surface, it may seem that Cornyn has a point.  If the law is already in place, and the money is going to be spent anyway, why shouldn't Republicans take advantage?  However, as Steve Benen argued yesterday, that undermines the core principle of today's conservative movement:

To hear GOP officials tell it, government spending isn't just inherently wrong, it's inherently useless. Investing tax dollars can't create jobs, can't generate growth, and can't be relied on to improve economic conditions. By asking for stimulus money, accepting stimulus money, and occasionally even handing out stimulus money, these same GOP officials are conceding that their argument is wrong.

Exactly.  If Republicans really believe the spending won't accomplish anything, why would they ask for the money?

Of course, we know now that the recovery package has created up to 2.4 million jobs, according to the Congressional Budget Office, kept millions of Americans out of poverty, and spurred the strongest quarter of economic growth in six years.  For a more detailed account of the program's success, click HERE.