In honor of everyone's favorite Dick, former Congressman from Texas, House Majority Leader, and "Republican Revolutionary," Dick Armey, I announce my third, weekly Eat A Armey Award, for the public luminary who's being an especial jackhole the previous week.
This one's a group gobbler.
Singing the same old, tired doo wop of "the dangers of deficit spending," Sarah Palin and the Pips (Haley Barbour, Rick Perry, Mark Sanford, and castrato Bobby Jindal) are flooding the airwaves with their retread miss, "Fiscal Conservativism." The tune has changed and has been remixed several times over the past few years, but, no matter how hard they try, this song seems to be perpetually off-key and is currently falling on deaf ears.
For those of you who haven't heard, Palin and these other Republican governors have decided to reject parts of the federal stimulus package going to their states. A few were originally contemplating rejecting all their state's funds but realized that would be political suicide. And, since this is all really about positioning themselves for the GOP presidential nomination in '12, nobody's been willing to fall on tier swords on "principle" just yet.
Even with this supposed compromise, Palin, Perry, Sanford, Jindal, and Barbour are going hoarse, screeching about their "conservative principles," "Trojan horses," and the Peloponessian War, for that matter. Barbour says he'll reject $56 million; Jindal, $98 million; Palin, $288 million; Perry, $566 million; and, after the White House rejected his ploy to use the money to pay off state debts, Mark Sanford claims he'll reject a whopping $700 million.
But what is the moral this GOP Greek chorus trying to sing? What exactly are these "principles" they're droning on and on about? Why are they only rejecting part of the stimulus package and not the whole thing? What part of it has their togas in a wad?
Why, unemployment benefits, of course.
They claim that the federal government's trying to stealthily change their states' unemployment compensation laws by extending the benefit to those seeking part-time as opposed to full-time employment. Their principles (I'm guessing those old shibboleths, "state's rights" and "welfare cheats") tell them that they don't want to reward people who are "unwilling" to seek full-time employment. Those same principles ignore the fact that most service employers refuse to off full-time employment. But what does principle have to do with reality?
Of course, in the face of the economic crisis we're currently facing (much of it brought on by their principled Republican cohorts), this all begs the question: Who gives a fuck? Hundreds of thousands of people are being laid off monthly; Sanford's own South Carolina has the second highest unemployment rate in the country; and your "principles" are suddenly telling you to screw the ones who are most fucked by this economy. Yeah, I understand principles--not yours--but the principle of having principles. But principles are supposed to guide governance--not dictate it. As Pennsylvania governor, Ed Rendell, says:
"How do you sit across the table from a part-time worker working three part-time jobs, doing his best to keep his family afloat, didn't get health care, didn't get anything for it, all three of his jobs collapsing? What does that make you? Does that make you a good Christian?"
No, Ed, this whole song-and-dance doesn't make Palin and the Pips good Christians. It makes them good Republicans. Because none of these pols care about the suffering in 2009. They're looking at their prospects in 2012. And when that time comes, they won't point to the people they helped starve. They'll talk about how they stood up to "big, bad Washington"; how they wouldn't give in to "welfare cheats"; and that you'd have to pry "fiscal responsibility" from their cold, dead hands.
But it's all a charade, a complex lip-synch routine replete with Solid Gold dancers, a "live studio" audience, canned applause, and a Top Ten chart that has nothing to do with reality ("Kill that metaphor, Bill! Kill it!"). Because while they rail against Washington and welfare, four of these governors are some of the biggest "welfare queens" this country's got.
Each one of their states (except for Rick Perry's Texas) receives more in federal money than they pay in federal taxes. South Carolina gets $1.35 for every dollar sent to Washington; Louisiana ranks fourth, receiving $1.78 for every Washington; Alaska's three ($1.84/$1); and Mississippi is number two, receiving a whopping $2.02 for every dollar sent in federal taxes.
So yes, my Four Tops, this is the same, old song. We've heard Republicans talk about fiscal responsibility, personal responsibility, we've heard them rail against deficit spending and pork and welfare for millennia now. But when the rubber hits the road, they are even more irresponsible than those dastardly "tax-and-spend" liberals. After all, Reagan, Bush, and Bush Babee are the ones who've given us record-breaking deficits. Even Deregulus Prime, Phil Gramm, that anti-whining "foot soldier of the Reagan Revolution" once confessed to being in Washington talking about slashing the pork while going home bragging about how he brought home the bacon.
And Palin and her Pips are some of the biggest swine swindlers there are out there. But reality and rhetoric never do have to meet in politics. They'll yodel all day long about their kosher politics while they gulp down their Lipitor with their Beltway bacon. They'll tell us how they stood up to Obama while they bent over backwards to get earmarks into his budgets. The one thing that will be consistent, though, is they'll continue to paint hard-working folks "welfare cheats" and deny them out of much-needed money.
So, while these people, who are "unwilling" to seek full-time employment while working two or three part-time jobs, become homeless, I hope Jindal will find it in his heart to open up the Super Dome to house them--if only temporarily. Then he and his fellow Pips could hold a benefit, hum a little phallic philharmonic, and asphyxiate on all the Armeys of the people they're screwing.