Ordinarily, Bob Dold is happy to be compared to Mark Kirk, his predecessor as representative of the 10th District. Kirk held on to the seat for 10 years, even though his district voted for Al Gore, John Kerry and Barack Obama. He’s been a model for moderate Republicans in Democrat-leaning states.
But now, the Democratic National Committee is calling Dold a hypocrite and accusing him of playing by “The Kirk Playbook” for cutting a ribbon at the Winnetka train station, whose renovation was paid for with $4.9 million in federal stimulus money. During his 2010 campaign, Dold criticized President Obama’s stimulus package.
“I myself think that what's going on right now is our out-of-control spending is just that -- out of control,” he told Winnetka-Glencoe Patch. “In the 10th [of] this $862 billion stimulus package, we spent $169 million in the 10th District, and we’ve created 158 jobs. That is a dismal failure. We need to be pro-growth and pro-jobs strategies out there.”
During the campaign, Dold declared that he would have voted against the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. But it sounds as though Dold’s main complaint about out-of-control spending was that it wasn’t under the control of his North Shore constituents. He wasn’t complaining about Obama spending too much money. He was complaining that Obama wasn’t spending enough in the 10th District of Illinois.
The DNC’s complaint with Kirk is that he actually voted against the package, then recommended the money be spent on hybrid buses and O’Hare modernization.
From the DNC:
The Kirk Playbook--Hypocrisy 101: Slam Stimulus While Touting Illinois Stimulus Projects
Kirk Letter to the Editor: Pace Should Use Stimulus Funds to Purchase Hybrid Buses. In a letter to the editor published in the Pioneer Press in July 2009, Kirk and Highland Park mayor Michael Belky encouraged Pace, the suburban bus transit authority, to use funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment to purchase a new fleet of hybrid buses. “While hybrid buses are more expensive than diesel buses ($500,000 vs. $320,000), a hybrid bus will use approximately 30,000 gallons less fuel over its lifetime. A new hybrid fleet could save more than 1 million gallons of fuel and eliminate 10,500 tons of greenhouse gases, saving taxpayers at least $2.6 million in diesel costs alone,” Kirk wrote in the letter. The letter concludes by urging readers to call Pace and encourage them to invest in the hybrid buses. [Pioneer Press, 7/16/09]
Kirk: Illinois Should Use Stimulus Funds on O’Hare Airport Modernization Project. In February 2009, Kirk told the Chicago Tribune that Illinois should use its share of the stimulus bill to complete the O’Hare Airport Modernization project, instead of on what Kirk called “social spending.” “Why don't we pare back some of the social spending and pay for the whole O'Hare [airport modernization] project, because we know that the economic benefit and tax revenue from [the] O'Hare project is tremendous for the state?” Kirk said. [Chicago Tribune, 2/1/09]
During the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Dold declared the Winnetka train station “an infrastructure project we can be proud of.”
The secret to getting Republicans to support federal spending? Spend money in their districts.
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