Hypocrisy Is Not the Problem

Eric Lipton reports:

On the Senate floor and the television airwaves, Senator Mitch McConnell has lambasted the Obama administration over what he has described as its failed efforts to stimulate new jobs through clean-energy projects backed with billions of dollars in federal loans or other assistance.

But Mr. McConnell, of Kentucky, is one of several prominent Republicans who have worked to steer federal money to clean-energy projects in their home states, Energy Department documents show.

Mr. McConnell made two personal appeals in 2009, asking Energy Secretary Steven Chu to approve as much as $235 million in federal loans for a plant to build electric vehicles in Franklin, Ky.

This by itself proves nothing. It may show that ALL politicians like handouts for their voters, but that didn’t need to be proven. This is no way detracts from the valid arguments over whether the federal government should allocate borrowed funds for such purposes, or how our representatives should choose, in general, which projects are funded.

Furthermore, hypocrisy says something about the messenger, not the message. An unfaithful man’s actions may speak volumes about his lack of character, but they do not detract from the value of fidelity, which does not need defending. Whether or not McConnell is as concerned about government waste as he claims does not detract from the importance of addressing the government’s proven ability to waste vast sums of money. The time is still ripe for a greater examination of how the government spends our money – all of it. If Republicans want to challenge the idea of a national infrastructure bank – which is not a bank at all – good for them. But let them apply just as much scrutiny on all that the government spends. The alternative is to argue that since Republicans want funding for pet projects as well, they must be a legitimate and efficient means of governing. If that is our level of seriousness, we have no hope of ever addressing entitlements and our long-term budgetary shortfalls.

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