WASHINGTON – Freshman Rep. Allen West (R-FL), who won his House seat partly by bashing the stimulus and government spending, this week hailed stimulus-funded projects for creating jobs and boosting economic growth.
“It’s time for incumbent Ron Klein to admit his ideas just don’t work. The stimulus failed to produce jobs,” West said in a campaign ad last fall.
But in a recent interview with attorney Ed Pozzuoli, the video of which was clipped by Think Progress, West praised two stimulus-funded projects in his Florida district for their potential to “turn around” the economy.
“Just had a great opportunity sitting over and talking to the Ft. Lauderdale Airport director. They’re going to bring in that new southern runway,” West said. “You think about the jobs that will create. You think about the increased revenues. I mean, $2.7 billion a year. That’s what that airport brings in. And when you bring it in together with the world’s largest cruise port? Now we’re talking about how we’re going to turn around South Florida.”
West, who has been hailed by some conservatives as a rising star in the GOP, announced Wednesday that he will give the keynote speech in the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington this week.
West’s contradiction reflects the rhetoric-reality gap among voters with regard to government spending: they love to rail against it broadly, but they appreciate it when the money is spent in ways that benefit them.
Republicans roundly criticized the Obama administration’s economic stimulus package as a failure in the run-up to the 2010 midterm elections, a position that appeared odd after it was revealed that many of the anti-stimulus GOP lawmakers praised stimulus-funded local projects in their districts.
This video is West’s interview, uploaded to YouTube.
This video is West’s campaign ad, uploaded last October.