The tag-team effort to intimidate Senator Jon Kyl and the state of Arizona by threatening to withhold federal funds got a quick, pointed, and direct response from Kyl and his fellow Senator, John McCain.  The two sent letters to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood that castigates them for their “patently offensive” threats — and a reminder where the money originates:

We were very disappointed to learn of the letters that you and other members of the
Cabinet sent to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer about stimulus spending and that you would allow
your good offices to be used so obviously for political purposes.

Secretary LaHood’s suggestion that the Administration will “make available” to
Arizonans tax dollars that they pay is patently offensive.

We hope this does not characterize your dealings with the Congress in the future.

Kyl had already offered this response yesterday:

It’s unfortunate that President Obama and his administration seem unwilling to debate the merits of the stimulus bill and acknowledge its shortcomings.  Instead, they have resorted 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.  Since even the President acknowledges the stimulus isn’t working as well as he hoped, the administration should instead be willing to consider whether the unallocated stimulus money could be put to better use.

If they can’t win by argument, the Obama administration will resort to threats.  It’s apparently their money now, and they’re loathe to give it back to the ungrateful wretches that gave it to them in the first place.  What’s not to understand?

Good letter, gentlemen.