Dispatches from the Creation Wars

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is proving its hypocrisy and its fealty to the Republican Party by supporting candidates that speak out against legislative acts that the Chamber previously argued are absolutely vital to the country — specifically, TARP and the stimulus package. The Chamber not only supported those two bills, they argued for them in the most ominous of terms, saying that anyone who dared to vote against them would be judged by history as akin to Nero fiddling while Rome burns. AP reports:

During the worst of the economic crisis, the nation’s most powerful business lobby pleaded with Congress to prop up financial institutions and stimulate the economy with hundreds of billions of dollars in borrowed money.

“Make no mistake: When the aftermath of congressional inaction becomes clear, Americans will not tolerate those who stood by and let the calamity happen,” wrote Bruce Josten, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s vice president in September 2008, who at the time pressed lawmakers before their vote on a $700 billion bailout for Wall Street.

A few months later, Congress faced a similar reckoning — whether to pass an $814 billion economic stimulus package consisting of about one-third tax breaks and two-thirds additional government spending. Again, Josten wrote to lawmakers: “The global economy is in uncharted and dangerous waters and inaction from Washington is not an option.”

And yet they are now backing Republican candidates all over the country who are using their opposition to those very bills the centerpiece of their campaigns, calling the bailout and the stimulus package proof of runaway government spending that is leading us down the path to socialism.

To reinforce the hypocrisy, that very same Chamber that demanded support for the more than $1.5 trillion in spending included in those two all-important bills is now taking out ads slamming those who voted for them for doing what they wanted them to do:

The chamber’s $75 million planned for campaign ads in this year’s elections will go, in part, to criticize candidates who voted for one or both measures.

For example, Hodes, who is running for the Senate in New Hampshire, voted for the stimulus bill and is now being attacked by the chamber as someone whose “out-of-control spending helped push America’s debt to $13 trillion.” Hodes voted against the bailout.

Ellsworth, who is running for the Senate in Indiana, is accused in the chamber’s latest ad of voting for trillions of dollars in government spending. The ad asks viewers to “tell Ellsworth Hoosiers can’t afford his big-government agenda.” Ellsworth voted for both bills.

Pure hypocrisy.