Friday, October 29, 2010

Schweikert: The Fiscal Conservative That Never Was


David Schweikert (pictured), the Tea Party candidate who made himself rich after his irresponsible friends on Wall Street pushed the global economy to a precipice, loves to talk about his credentials as a fiscal conservative. According to Schweikert’s 2010 campaign website, the federal government “continues to spend money it doesn’t have and wastes billions of our tax dollars every year on questionable spending. The complete lack of fiscal responsibility coming out of Congress needs to stop.” He points to his record as a fiscal conservative his “entire career” and says it is possible for government to spend your tax dollars frugally, but, unfortunately, most of those in government don’t want to do that.

Foreclosure Dave Seen Here Closing on Another "Investment Property"

So long press release short, he's against earmarks, all earmarks! He claims that less then 1% of the federal budget will bankrupt us all, not that $7 trillion his boy President Bush added to the national debt in a mere 8 years. (During which Schweikert was silent.) Forget the $3 trillion unnecessary war, Medicare Part D, and the tax cuts for people making over a $1 million that were all unpaid for, that’s small potatoes. Nevermind that it’s the job of a congressman to steer federal resources to their state for the benefit of their constituents, Foreclosure Dave has national talking points to hit. Earmarks, Obama, Pelosi, Reid, lap dogs, unions, and ummm… socialism, that’s what’s really important in this election, right Dave?

Okay, while Scrooge McDuck’s David Schweikert’s positions may be shortsighted and incredibly stupid (haven’t you ever read Ayn Rand?), they could represent a legitimate ideological difference. It is possible that like libertarians, his beliefs are so strong that he is willing to ignore the reality around him in seeking there justification. (Hell, he is even willing to ignore the job description of the office he is running for.) Some would call his resolve principled, and for someone else beside Schweikert that may be so. The only problem is, David loves to spend federal and state money, and always has.

In 2008, Schweikert told The Arizona Republic he had a zero-tolerance policy on Congressional earmarks. He has said congressmen should “not even accept a cup of coffee” from lobbyists. “The pork-barrel spending and the corrupting influence that earmarks bring must be ended”. David didn’t mention that during time as a state representative he co-sponsored a bill to urge the Governor to create a state office in D.C. for lobbyist to seek “federal appropriations and grants”. The office would have cost Arizona taxpayers $200,000 annually. [SB 1073, introduced 3/03/94]

David forgets that in the same year as he sought to create an Arizona funded office for lobbyists, he sponsored a measure to ask the President of the United States to seek a Congressional earmark for “the purpose of paying for the operation, maintenance and replacement costs associated with the Central Arizona Project water, including costs accrued and associated with federal allocations which may not be in use.” (CAP is a canal that runs through the middle of Phoenix that provides a majority of Maricopa County’s water and has fueled its explosive growth.) The measure cited as grievances the fact that Arizonans rely on and pay for the Central Arizona Project and “a substantial quantity of water” made available through the project “has been allocated to various uses by the United States federal government.” [HCM 2005, 2/28/94]

Don’t get me wrong, the CAP was a great project and very much worthy of federal funding, but the reality of David’s advocacy for it and his campaign rhetoric couldn’t be further apart. Completely in character I’d say.

There are plenty of other examples of David's disingenuousness (and outright lies) when it comes to his position on spending taxpayer money. Even before his get-federal-money-for-local-public-works extravaganza, David was well used to doling out other people's money. In 1992, The Arizona Capitol Times reported that Schweikert voted in favor of appropriations bills 72.7 percent – opposing them only 27.3 percent. [Arizona Capitol Times, 6/24/92]

In 1994, Schweikert co-sponsored a bill adding Arizona State University’s East Campus to the list of facilities to be provided for in a $2 million appropriation from the state general fund. Now, David wants to get rid of public schools all together. That’s quite a shift from one political environment to another, no?

David sought federal money for Arizona’s “outdoor recreation facilities, improving conditions for fish and wildlife, and delivery of water to Arizona Indian communities.” The same state services he now wants to privatize. And why not? Privatization of state responsibilities has worked out so well for Arizona, ask Jan Brewer; just not the two people who died when a murderer literally walked out of a private prison, literally. [HCM 2005, 2/28/94]

Can you believe perennial candidate David Schweikert’s double talk gets worse? In 1991, Foreclosure Dave voted in favor of a bill to appropriate more than $18 million from the state general fund and more than $173 million from other funds for building renewal and capital projects. [HB 2350, 6/21/91] That’s a lot of money; at least it is to those who didn’t make millions exploiting other people’s misfortune.

Looks like David’s record of fiscal conservatism isn’t quite as solid as he likes to claim. Indeed, it’s built on a foundation of sand propped up by national talking points and meaningless slogans. No doubt the Chamber of Commerce had this in mind when they endorsed Democrat Harry Mitchell.

David’s 180 degree turn is no surprise really. This is the guy who tried and failed to implicate Harry Mitchell in unethical real estate speculation after he himself preyed on over 400 Arizona families so could get his “investment properties”. This is the guy who is the darling of the Arizona right-wing fringe, but he just had John McCain cut an ad endorsing him. If “This is my house now” Schweikert wasn’t an unabashed hypocrite he wouldn’t be a Tea Party hero.

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