Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 27, 2009

THE PROBLEM WITH THE PORK PUSHBACK.... For GOP lawmakers anxious to push back against the Obama administration's agenda, the answer isn't to engage in a debate over the role of government. Rather, the Republicans have decided the way to win the broader policy debate is to find individual spending proposals that sound funny.

The strategy hasn't been especially effective. The money for marsh-mouse preservation turned out to be a lie. The money linking Vegas to Disneyland by way of high-speed rail was also non-existent. The volcano-monitoring program turned out to be a pretty good idea.

But now they've got a new one. Republicans, Fox News, the New York Post, and Drudge have found a $200,000 provision in the omnibus spending package for "tattoo removal." How can anyone defend that?

It's actually pretty easy to defend. Greg Sargent looked into it.

[A] little reporting reveals that that this "tattoo removal" program is an anti-crime program in the San Fernando Valley that re-integrates reformed gang members and makes it easier for them to find jobs. Two Los Angeles law enforcement officials I just spoke to -- one who identified himself as a "conservative Republican" -- swore by the program for reducing crime and saving lives.

The chief of San Fernando Police Department told Greg that the program is "important" and "reduces attacks." A local probation officer added, "This program is one of the best life-saving and life-changing programs out here. I am about as right wing a conservative as you would ever find."

In other words, it's another example of the sad spectacle of foolish Republican talking points.

Looking at the big picture, it's amazing the right would choose to be this foolish, on purpose. Conservative David Frum, a former Bush speechwriter, recently explained the seriousness and scope of the current crisis, and the fundamental shift the Obama administration is pursuing. He added that Republican obsession over trivial expenditures makes the party look ridiculous: "Could we possibly act more inadequate to the challenge? More futile? More brain dead?"

Apparently not.

Steve Benen 10:05 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (23)

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Posted by: CC on February 27, 2009 at 10:03 AM | PERMALINK

"Could we possibly act more inadequate to the challenge? More futile? More brain dead?"

Apparently not.

Oh, I'm sure they'll find a way...

Posted by: kanopsis on February 27, 2009 at 10:05 AM | PERMALINK

Well, see, that's the problem -- it helps ex-convicts find jobs, when of course they should be punished their entire lives for committing any crime at all. The fact that unemployment is probably the biggest factor in the recidivism rate is ... uh ... hey, look over there, a train to Disneyland! Hahahahahaha! Stupid lie-berals.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on February 27, 2009 at 10:05 AM | PERMALINK

"Could we possibly act more inadequate to the challenge? More futile? More brain dead?"

YES. ALWAYS.

Although -- I saw video of John Boehner smiling when Mitch McConnell stroked his hair so I can diagnose from here that he is not actually brain-dead and should have his tanning tube replaced immediately.

Posted by: T Paine on February 27, 2009 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

These types of programs also exist for juveniles. Kids that were often in trouble with the law but want to make a clean break from the cycle, can get their tattoos removed. It helps them mentally break from their old lives and helps their chances of employment.

Not that the GOP cares about children once they're born.

Posted by: palinoscopy on February 27, 2009 at 10:12 AM | PERMALINK

"Could we possibly act more inadequate to the challenge? More futile? More brain dead?"

Uh oh, one of them is catching on, I'll attempt to distract them...

"Hey Republicans, those are some really cool shoes, where'd you get 'em? Hey, great convention..."

Posted by: Capt Kirk on February 27, 2009 at 10:22 AM | PERMALINK

"It helps them mentally break from their old lives and helps their chances of employment"

Does this apply to Shrubites and Shrubettes having the W removed from their rear ends?

Posted by: berttheclock on February 27, 2009 at 10:22 AM | PERMALINK

This is the party that championed a woman that needed to hire a comptroller to do her mayoral duties while mocking a "community organizer" who got people to do stuff, often, for free.

Morally bankrupt. All of 'em. Unlike their oh-so-hilarious pundits, though, I don't want a nuke to drop on 'em, or poison in their crème brulee or a revolution to take them all out. I want them to live long lives to see how their philosophy failed & progressive policies succeeded. I want them to see diplomacy win out over fear tactics and intimidation. I want to see Rush's influence wane to the point where it can be strangled in the bathtub. I want to see them sheepishly pretend that they were progressives all along. In all our lifetimes. 'twould be a true sight to behold.

Posted by: slappy magoo on February 27, 2009 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK
He added that Republican obsession over trivial expenditures makes the party look ridiculous: "Could we possibly act more inadequate to the challenge? More futile? More brain dead?"

The problem isn't that Republicans in Congress (and many that are seeking national position within the party, and the media propagandists of the conservative movement) are acting inadequate to the challenge, or even that they are inadequate to the challenge or brain-dead, for the most part, in terms of competence or intelligence.

The problem is that they are, or are dedicated to appealing to those who are, possessed of an ideological, quasi-religious, irrational dedication to opposing the things that are useful in the present crisis. Its not that they don't see serious alternatives because they are too dumb to figure them out, its that all the serious alternatives that have any chance of working in the present circumstances are things they've ruled out a priori, so they are left with trying to throw up a hailstorm of irrelevancies and hoping that something sticks to derail serious efforts, or hoping that even if serious efforts are successful in legislative terms they don't succeed in making things better (or at least, that they can argue that any success that occurs wasn't due to the policies).

Posted by: cmdicely on February 27, 2009 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

I never understood why the idea of building a high-speed train line between two of the largest cities in the US invited ridicule in the first place.

What would they prefer a train line from Paducah to Branson?

Posted by: jalfrezi on February 27, 2009 at 10:35 AM | PERMALINK

Does this apply to Shrubites and Shrubettes having the W removed from their rear ends?

Nope... being the good rancher *cough cough* that he is, dubya had them branded. Harder to remove that way.

Posted by: kanopsis on February 27, 2009 at 10:37 AM | PERMALINK

This is all part of the grand Republican plan to out-snark liberal blogs. They are going to continue to do things so mind-bogglingly stupid that we won't be able to out-mock them. The next major paper to go out of business will be the Onion: how can it possibly compete with such full-throated self parody

Posted by: petorado on February 27, 2009 at 10:37 AM | PERMALINK

Perhaps not Paducah, but, they might support, heavily, one running between Trinity Broadcast Music Village in Henderson, Tenn and "Osmondville" Branson. Geez, and I remember when Branson was simply known for great fishing.

Posted by: berttheclock on February 27, 2009 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

Don't forget the Colorado state Senator (Dave Shultheis) who voted against HIV testing for pregnant women because the disease "stems from sexual promiscuity".

Everyday they seem to outdo themselves.

Posted by: whichwitch on February 27, 2009 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

oopsy...he hasn't voted against it yet but PLANS to.

Posted by: whichwitch on February 27, 2009 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

"Could we possibly act more inadequate to the challenge? More futile? More brain dead"

Well, there's always tomorrow...

Posted by: Piper on February 27, 2009 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

Yet another post that points out the obvious: Our friends on the far right are out of ideas, and are resorting to throwing shit on the wall. I'm beginning to see intellectuals on the right as inherently lazy, or just too slow to do the Google! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on February 27, 2009 at 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

Or, the Republicans who found the tattoo removal progam to be folly are the same ones who giggle at the mention of Lake Titicaca! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on February 27, 2009 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

Even if you give the GOP the benefit of the doubt, that this is a completely useless program, it's $200,000 out of a $410,000,000,000 bill. That's one-half of one-ten-thousandth of one percent. It costs less than one penny for every 10 citizens. This is the best complaint they have?

Posted by: syl on February 27, 2009 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

In fact, $2 billion for "tattoo removal" would be not enough and money very well spent. Everything I have read (and seen here in the gang capital of California) about anti-gang activity and getting kids out of gangs is that the one thing that they can't walk away from is their tattoos - Homeboy Industries found that doing that did more than anything to help a kid get out of that life. As pointed out, it lets them get jobs they wouldn't otherwise be able to get, and allows them to walk around in general society without having people cross the street to avoid them, giving them the opportunity to create a non-gang social life.

Of course, conservatives would be happy as could be if they were issued "hunting licenses" for these kids. Then they could go after "the most dangerous prey" and have fun with it, shooting black and brown people on their all-white safaris to the inner city.

Posted by: TCinLA on February 27, 2009 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

"This program is one of the best life-saving and life-changing programs out here. I am about as right wing a conservative as you would ever find."

I think this guy needs to work on his ignorance. There seem to be some gaping holes in it.

Posted by: JeffF on February 27, 2009 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

It's not the W on their butts, it's the backwards B on their faces ...

Posted by: royalblue_tom on February 27, 2009 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

You can find the silver lining in any gimme program.

$2 trillion for Mexican drug dealers? Sound funny? Turns out they can retire from dealing and go legit, saving American teens from the temptation of drugs. Those Republicans!

Posted by: Luther on February 27, 2009 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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