But even before Bachmann praised the program, Fox's Sean Hannity was attacking it as a "porkfest":
Stimulus Bill Buys Pork... Literally
Porkfest! Your tax dollars are being used to buy a lot of pork and I mean literally! The government's Recovery.gov Web site reports that the stimulus money has been dolled out for the following:
• $2.5 million to Los Angeles for "ham, water added, cooked, frozen and sliced"
• Another $1.1 million to L.A. for "two pounds frozen ham, sliced"
• $16.7 million to Minnesota for "canned pork"
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack was quick to defend the ham purchases, saying that all that ham is going to food banks and soup kitchens: "The references to two-pound frozen ham sliced are the sizes of the packaging... In fact the contract in question purchased 760,000 pounds of ham for $1.19 million at a cost of approximately $1.50 per pound."
By the way, Tom, the ham you've been paying $1.50 for actually costs 79 cents in most grocery stores. Thanks for being so careful with our stimulus money.
Less than three months after Hannity's comments, Bachmann privately wrote Vilsack a letter praising the economic benefits of the program:
On Oct. 5, 2009, Bachmann wrote Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack praising him for injecting money into the pork industry through the form of direct government purchases. She went on to request additional assistance.
"Your efforts to stabilize prices through direct government purchasing of pork and dairy products are very much welcomed by the producers in Minnesota, and I would encourage you to take any additional steps necessary to prevent further deterioration of these critical industries, such as making additional commodity purchases and working to expand trade outlets for these and other agricultural goods," Bachmann wrote.
Like Mitt Romney on health care, Michele Bachmann wants to have it both ways on the stimulus. It was great for her state and her district, but she doesn't want anyone else to have it because it gives her a political weapon against President Obama. And as for Hannity, just like he'll make up excuses for Mitt Romney on health care, he'll provide cover for Michele Bachmann on the stimulus. For these guys, it's not about principle, or doing the right thing: it's simply about gaining political power. Nothing more, nothing less.