|Has Obama taken the role of Don Corleone?
In Corleone fashion, top Obama officials made Arizona Governor Jan Brewer an offer she shouldn't refuse. They want her to back the President's stimulus plan, and if she doesn't and agrees with Senator Jon Kyl, she should say ciao to the federal funds. Capiche?!
Several cabinet-level Luca Brasis, including Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and housing Secretary Shaun Donovan, sent letters to our Republican governor this week telling her to put up or shut up when it comes to the stimulus money. They want to know whether she supports her Republican colleague, Kyl, who has screamed his oposition to the program to everybody who'll listen.
"[Kyl] publicly questioned whether the stimulus is working and stated that he wants to cancel projects that aren't presently under way," LaHood says in his letter. "If you prefer to forfeit the money we are making available to your state, as Senator Kyl suggests, please let me know."
Lahood also says Phoenix alone would lose more than $500 million for several projects, including additions to the Valley Metro Light Rail system if the money is denied.
Fanning the political flames and reminding her of her constituents, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack tells Brewer that Arizona would lose $45 million for 500 single-family-housing loans if projects not already under way are canceled.
Kyl (pictured) says the move by the administration is shameful and little more than low-level officials attempts "to coordinated political attacks with the Democratic National Committee and the politicization of departments of government by using cabinet secretaries to issue thinly veiled threats to the governor and the people of Arizona."
Brewer, however, has yet to falter to the thuggery.
"The governor is hopeful that these federal Cabinet officials are not threatening to deny Arizona citizens the portion of federal stimulus funds to which they are entitled," Brewer spokesman Paul Senseman says.
The GOP governor has supported accepting the Obama administration's federal stimulus money, but has not spoken out publicly against Kyl's calls to nix it; Brewer seems to have learned the most important lesson of all: Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.