By Joe Yates
Like the drone of a furnace in the background, pretense has trickled out of our nation’s capital for so long that no one ever pays much attention. The steady hum of hypocrisy is just a mundane fact of life. Recently, however, the posturing has become downright circus-like.
Last October Hurricane Sandy took 113 lives in New Jersey and other parts of the Northeast. The fiscal cost is estimated to be more than $50 billion. The Sandy disaster was fraught with politics, as the Republican governor of New Jersey was caught shaking hands with the Kenyan socialist himself. Grown men used to do this all the time, I remember. Shake hands, I mean.
The May 20 tornado in Oklahoma took 24 lives and will cost $6 billion.
Oklahoma Senators James Inhofe and Tom Coburn voted against the Sandy aid bill. During an incoherent speech on the Senate floor, Inhofe said it was “too close to Christmas” (huh?) and complained that Sandy relief money was being ‘wasted’ because some of it was meant for repairing roofs in Washington, D.C., and roads in the Virgin Islands. He apparently was ignorant of the breadth of Sandy’s fury. But Inhofe will now vote for aid to tornado victims in his home state because this bill will not be a ‘slush fund’ to be squandered like the Sandy package. After all, there are a lot of folks up there in “Yankee- Land” that have funny last names that end with vowels.
Inhofe’s colleague, Senator Tom Coburn, voted ‘no’ on the Sandy bill because it had no corresponding offsets in other parts of the federal budget. In order to avoid looking like a complete twit, Coburn says that there must be cuts elsewhere in the budget to equal the Oklahoma dollars. Now others will suffer so that Coburn may remain spiteful, but consistent. Really, does Grandpa need Meals On Wheels that many times a week?
Could it happen here? Would the home team be capable of these fun-house mirror contortions? Suppose, heaven forbid, there was a tragic coal mining disaster in Kentucky. Would we be embarrassed by the sight of The Obstructionator and Eddie Haskell (er… Sens. McConnell and Paul) tap-dancing in front of the cameras, explaining to us that they will do all they can to help shove that federal assistance right down our throats, even though ‘big guvmint’—the EPA and the Mine Safety and Health Administration—still needs to “get off our backs?”
Not to be outdone by Oklahoma’s TweedleDum and Dumber is Rep. Stephen Fincher, a Tea Partier from — I’m not kidding — Frog Jump, Tenn. The story begins when California Rep. Juan Vargas, an obvious communist, made an impassioned plea in defense of the SNAP program (formerly known as food stamps) in this year’s farm bill.
“Jesus says how you treat the least among us, the least of our brothers, that’s how you treat Him,” Vargas said, also noting that Jesus talked a lot about the poor.
Our Volunteer State hero was thinkin’ fast. Probably something like, “Look, I’ll do the bible-quotin’ chest-thumpin’ around here, not some weenie named Juan from San Diego.” And he delivers this haymaker, directly from Thessalonians, right to this dude’s other cheek—uh, I mean jaw. Fincher’s devastating retort? “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” Kapow!
SNAP, schmap. That’s the trouble with old folks today. Just can’t get Granny outta the house to go to work and pull her weight.
Well, as it turns out, Rep. Fincher has received $3.2 million in federal crop farm subsidies since 1997. His family has received millions more. Yet he wants to cut $20 billion from the SNAP program.
Half of SNAP recipients are children; almost 10 percent are over age 60, and the rest are “working poor.” Yeah, the ones Jesus was talking about.
Whether farm subsidies are good or bad is for another day. But if you are an elected representative and you receive a dime of government subsidy, you must turn in your Tea Party membership card immediately. If you vote to harm ‘the least among us’ while on the ‘rich man’s welfare,’ you are beyond despicable.
We vote for yahoos like this and wonder why our country is so screwed up. Seriously?