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Apr 30 2009

Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

Priorities:

Recently, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) released his budget for next year, calling for cuts in higher education and health care for the uninsured and disabled in order to plug a $1.3 billion shortfall in revenue. Already, hospitals are laying off workers. Yet Jindal is managing to spare some funds for his favorite football team:


The Jindal administration wants to use $85 million of a state surplus as well as pay up to $6 million a year to keep the Saints football team in Louisiana, lawmakers said Wednesday. The deal, described by legislators briefed on the offer, would require the state to pay far less than the $23.5 million the team is receiving in annual cash inducements. … Several lawmakers were critical of the proposal, which coincides with a budget crunch threatening health care and higher education with substantial reduction.

Well, kids won’t get educated and people will die, but at least they’ll all be able to root for their football team. Way to prioritize, there, Bobby.

Meanwhile, in the face of falling poll numbers and rampant public disgust, the Cons are falling back on fear:

While Republicans try to reconsider their relevance in American politics, there’s talk of GOP leaders “rebranding” and reevaluating where the party wants to go in the future.
But some habits — such as the Republicans’ twisted demagoguery and fear mongering — are hard to break.

House Republicans want to know: Do you feel safer?

In a remarkable video just released by House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and ranking intelligence committee member Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.), images of Obama “bowing” to Saudi officials and shaking hands with Hugo Chavez are interspersed with footage of the Pentagon exploding and terrorists doing bad things. All of it is back-dropped by frightening music.

Eek! Obama is keeping his promises and closing Gitmo! He’s honoring the rule of law and forbidding torture! 9/11, 9/11, 9/11! Run for your lives!

Honestly, the video is genuinely pathetic. It’s not the kind of clip that comes from a party anxious to become a national force; it’s the kind of clip a desperate campaign runs with five days to go before the election, down by 25 points in the polls.

The irony is, the Republican video is intended to make Americans afraid. What the video shows, however, is a Republican Party that’s panicking.

As well they should. After all, their tent is shrinking to the size of a dime-store umbrella, they’ve lost control of House, Senate and White House, and no one’s impressed by their ideas except for the handful of folks inclined to wave teabags around while screaming about socialism. The problem with their fear strategy, however, is that people become desensitized to fear. All but the most fear-prone of Americans have lost the capacity to experience an adrenaline rush when a Con screams “The terrorists are coming!”

So they have to fall back on old new tricks, like linking illegal immigrants to new threats like swine flu in a pathetic attempt to foist their paranoia on the rest of us:

Yesterday, Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) was on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal and talked about the outbreak of the H1N1 virus. When discussing the first death in the United States from the disease, Broun used the tragedy to rail against “illegal aliens”:


Q: What do you think happens next here? Or should happen?

BROUN: Of course, it’s sad to see a 23-month-old child die from this disease. We don’t have any specifics. I tried to find out this morning specifics about this child that has died — whether it was someone who is from Mexico, possibly an illegal alien who has been brought into this country.

[snip]

In fact, the child was a Mexican citizen whose family was visiting relatives in the United States. “The family had traveled to South Texas. The child became ill and they transported the child to Houston for medical care,” said a Houston health department official. This case had absolutely nothing to do with undocumented immigration. Most of the U.S. cases are arising in people who legally traveled to Mexico for various reasons.
Classy.

It’s probably not much help to the Cons when former Bush fuck-ups whine about the Obama Administration’s response to the swine flu:

Yesterday, former FEMA chief Michael Brown went on Fox Business to talk about the response of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Obama administration to the H1N1 flu virus. Brownie, who gained infamy for his incompetent response to Hurricane Katrina, launched into a tirade accusing the WHO for addressing the H1NI virus in a selfish bid to gain “more attention” and said the Obama administration is recklessly overreacting:

BROWN: Well I think there’s one thing they’re legitimately worried about and that is this H1N1 is a new strain we haven’t seen before so we’re not sure how Tamiflu and everything will work against it. Here’s what I really think is going on. I think they want to raise this level because that gives them more attention, it gives them more, you know, more legitimacy, and allows them to get out there and say ‘oh look at us, we’re in control we’ve got this thing taken care of.’ It legitimizes what they’re doing. We shouldn’t be scaring the public. [...]

Hey, Brownie? You fucked up the response to Katrina in a huge way. I d
on’t think many people consider your criticism of any emergency response valid. Just sayin’.

All the Cons are offering is outdated fear-mongering and absolute morons as spokespeople. That’s why this nugget Steve found rings so very, very true:

Robert Farley had a good item on this last night: “[P]olitical parties do die. They don’t die often, but even in the United States they sometimes go belly up. I think that the Republican Party has become stuck in an ideological and demographic trap of its own making, and I’m not sure that it understands the seriousness of the situation.”

They surely don’t.