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Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

Governor Bobby Jindal gives a big fuck-you to his state’s unemployed:

When President Obama signed the Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act last week, it included three different provisions to benefit unemployed workers. The first provided funding to states that allowed for a $25 per week increase in benefits. The second extended the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program which gives 20 weeks of federally-funded unemployment benefits to individuals “who had already collected all regular state benefits,” while the third provision widened the pool of people eligible to receive unemployment benefits.

Today, however, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal announced his intention to oppose changing state law to allow his Lousiana citizens to qualify for the second two unemployment provisions. Jindal said the state would only be accepting money to increase the unemployment insurance payments for those who currently qualify for unemployment insurance.

In all, Jindal turned away nearly $100 million in federal aid for his state’s unemployed residents. Further, as the National Employment Law Project projected on Febuary 13, EUC extension alone would have benefited 24,981 Louisiana residents. Jindal justified his decision by claiming that expanding unemployment benefits would result in tax increases for businesses.

Is it just me, or does this seem batshit fucking insane? These people are so hung up over taxes that they’re willing to starve poor people over tax increases that wouldn’t even happen. As Think Progress notes, the state could end the program a few years from now, before tax increases became necessary.

And this is one of the fuckwits who’s rumored to be a strong contender for the Republicon presidential nomination come 2012. If this is what they have to offer, it looks like they’d best get comfy in the wilderness – they won’t be leaving it any time soon.

Consider what all their grandstanding has earned them thus far:

If you dig into the new Research 2000 weekly tracking poll, you’ll find some really rough numbers for GOP leaders Mitch McConnell and John Boehner.

McConnell’s favorability rating is twenty three percent, and his unfavorability rating is fifty one percent. Boehner’s fave rating is seventeen percent, and his unfave is fifty four percent. The Congressional GOP’s fave rating is eighteen percent.

By contrast, Nancy Pelosi is in the forties, and Harry Reid is in the thirties.

And a quick look at the broader picture suggests that the GOP leadership has sunken in popularity since mid-January, when President Obama took office, suggesting once again that the performance of GOP leaders in the big stimulus debate has hurt them. The Dems have held steady or risen a bit.

Their only hope is that the stimulus fails spectacularly. Guess what they’ll be working to ensure happens – while hedging their bets by selectively loving it. We shall see how easy it is for the terminally unbalanced to walk that tightrope.

I don’t think Paul Krugman believes they have the requisite intelligence to pull off such stunts:

So when I read something like this:

“Why should we reward Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with $200 billion in taxpayer dollars without first reforming these housing entities that were at the heart of the economic meltdown?” House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said in a statement.

and people ask what on earth Boehner might mean when he talks about taxpayers “rewarding” institutions that are owned by taxpayers, I go for Occam’s Razor: Boehner doesn’t have some complicated notion in mind, he either doesn’t know that the government took over F&F months ago, or he just doesn’t get this “government-owned” concept.

This is what happens when the Con party becomes so outrageously inane that only stupid people or the woefully uninformed vote for them. We end up with outrageously stupid politicians. That in turn leads some leading lights on the Con side to contort the facts in order to pretend they’re not quite as stupid as they appear. As you might expect from such a sideshow, the contortionist act is painful for the actor and hilarious for the rest of us:

Neocon mastermind Richard Perle spoke in D.C. yesterday, and argued, with a straight face, that neoconservatives don’t actually exist. And if they did exist, they wouldn’t deserve the blame for the Bush administration’s foreign policy failures.

Dana Milbank, who was on hand for Perle’s remarks, said the experience of listening to all of this was like “falling down the rabbit hole.”

“There is no such thing as a neoconservative foreign policy,” Perle informed the gathering, hosted by National Interest magazine. “It is a left critique of what is believed by the comment
ator to be a right-wing policy.”

So what about the 1996 report he co-authored that is widely seen as the cornerstone of neoconservative foreign policy? “My name was on it because I signed up for the study group,” Perle explained. “I didn’t approve it. I didn’t read it.”

Mm-hmm. And the two letters to the president, signed by Perle, giving a “moral” basis to Middle East policy and demanding military means to remove Saddam Hussein? “I don’t have the letters in front of me,” Perle replied.

Right. And the Bush administration National Security Strategy, enshrining the neoconservative themes of preemptive war and using American power to spread freedom? “I don’t know whether President Bush ever read any of those statements,” Perle maintained. “My guess is he didn’t.”

It was apparently quite a performance, which literally drew laughter when Perle insisted, “I’ve never advocated attacking Iran.”

[snip]

Apparently, at the end of yesterday’s event, the moderator thanked Perle for being there: “You certainly kept us all entertained.”

Take a moment to fully appreciate Perle’s pathetic attempts at dodging reality. “My name’s on it, but I didn’t read it.” “Maybe I said those things and signed those letters, but since they’re not in front of me, can’t remember a thing!” “Bush probably didn’t read my babble, so you can’t say he was influenced by it.” What a spectacular ass.

You may have noticed a sudden and dramatic uptick in the asshattery lately. This has not gone unnoticed by the White House, which is taking the opportunity to have some fun and score political points at the asshats’ expense:

The White House has declared war on Rick Santelli.

The CNBC squawker is already, by now, infamous for his rant about “the losers’ mortgages.” Matt Drudge and the conservative blogosphere tried to turn him into the new Joe the Plumber — or perhaps something even bigger. Now, if White House press secretary Robert Gibbs has his way, Santelli may become something quite different — the public face of opposition to President Obama’s plan to stabilize the housing market.

Gibbs tore into Santelli today, blasting him from the White House podium with language that would cause an international incident if CNBC were a sovereign nation. “I’m not entirely sure where Mr. Santelli lives, or in what house he lives, but the American people are struggling every day to meet their mortgage, stay in their job, pay their bills, to send their kids to school, and to hope that they don’t get sick or that somebody they care for gets sick and sends them into bankruptcy,” Gibbs said, all the usual Southern charm drained from his voice, replaced with venom. “I think we left a few months ago the adage that, if it was good for a derivatives trader, that it was good for Main Street. I think the verdict is in on that.” If Santelli didn’t like the housing plan, Gibbs said, it was because he didn’t have any idea what was in it. “Every day when I come out here, I spend a little time reading, studying on the issues, asking people who are smarter than I am questions about those issues,” Gibbs went on. “I would encourage him to read the president’s plan and understand that it will help millions of people, many of whom he knows. I’d be more than happy to have him come here and read it. I’d be happy to buy him a cup of coffee. Decaf.”

And then he twisted the dagger a little: “Let me do this, too. This is a copy of the president’s home affordability plan. It’s available on the White House Web site, and I would encourage him, download it, hit print, and begin to read it.” He wrapped up the Santelli portion of the briefing with one final zinger. “It’s tremendously important that for people who rant on cable television to be responsible and understand what it is they’re talking about,” Gibbs said. “I feel assured that Mr. Santelli doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”

That, my darlings, is one hell of a towel-snap to the nads. And I get the feeling the White House is only warming up.

The next few months should be interesting. Make sure you’ve stocked up on your popcorn.

Comments

  1. says

    Gibb’s response was great. I hope to see more of this in the near future. Until these guys are called out publicly and often, they’ll continue to spout this nonsense as if the only suffering here is all those rich folks having to pay the taxes they should have been paying all along.BTW, yes, Jindal is batshit insane if he passes up free money during what is bound to be a prolonged recession at best.