Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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July 22, 2009

KATRINA WASN'T AN EMERGENCY?.... Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R), a far-right lawmaker from Tennessee, was on the House floor this morning, extolling the virtues of a balanced budget and PAYGO rules. Blackburn lost sight of these concerns during the Bush/Cheney years, but there's a lot of that going around.

But as part of her speech, Blackburn said PAYGO rules are not, in and of themselves, good enough, because lawmakers can point to emergencies or crises that occasionally warrant exceptions to the spending rules. That, Blackburn said, is the problem.

"Let's agree that we're going to have PAYGO enforcement," she told her colleagues. "That we're not going to cry 'emergency' every time we have a Katrina, every time we have a tsunami, every time we have a need for extra spending, that we don't go call for a special appropriation that allows us to circumvent the PAYGO rules."

This is awfully nutty. Chris Harris reminds us that Hurricane Katrina killed 1,464 people in Louisiana alone. "While we can all appreciate the benefits of a balanced budget, those benefits pale in comparison to the virtues of saving lives in the midst of an actual emergency. If saving thousands of lives costs a few extra dollars, so be it. That's why it's an 'emergency.'"

I'm curious what Blackburn would say the next time there is a catastrophe on U.S. soil. "Sorry, PAYGO is more important than the emergency"?

Republican lawmakers are supposed to have some kind of internal check, reminding them to turn down the crazy while speaking in public. It's amazing how often that check doesn't work.

Steve Benen 1:10 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (25)

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Comments

Usually, Republicans are in favor of spending lots of money to LOSE thousands of lives.

Republican lawmakers are supposed to have some kind of internal check, reminding them to turn down the crazy while speaking in public.

Since when?

Posted by: ckelly on July 22, 2009 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

How can the check possibly work when so many of them really are crazy, and not just pretending for the base?

Posted by: Steve LaBonne on July 22, 2009 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

good thing she's on record for the next time the president might be inclined to declare a national emergency for some disaster that has befallen the state...

Posted by: linda on July 22, 2009 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

let's hear it for the great state of tennessee...
where they always get the politicians/representation they deserve.

whatta country!

Posted by: neill on July 22, 2009 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

Anyone want a laugh, check this horseshit out;

http://www.rightchange.com/

the company that built the website were media strategists for dozens of shit for brains GOP senators and congressmen,

http://www.m3media.com/campaigns.php

aka the architects of the doom we are currently engulfed in. Now they're "rebranding" as the "Right" change.

Posted by: grinning cat on July 22, 2009 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

Look, Benen: Jesus didn't say anything about helping the poor, sick or dying, so this obviously isn't an emergency worth spending money on. If we keep spending money to save people who are drowning, why will anyone ever learn how to swim? Just because we are blessed with untold riches, why does this mean we have an obligation to extend a hand to save a drowning man? I have just checked my copy of the Official Wingnut Bible (now featuring fewer mushy bits about love and compassion) and don't find a single example of Jesus asking the rich to help the poor. We all know God sent those storms like he sent the flood, like Noah, God told me to not be there, if those sinners didn't get the memo, well, they shouldn't have been praying to their heathen idols as hard, should they?

Posted by: Northzax on July 22, 2009 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

But starting unecessary wars is an emergency.

Posted by: Liam J on July 22, 2009 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

The scary part is, I suspect that the GOP's internal check does work, and that comments like this are nothing compared to the absolutely insane shit these guys say to each other in private.

Posted by: Hoosier Paul on July 22, 2009 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

where do these people come from? let's take her argument a step further and go back 68 years ago to Dec. 8, 1841. President Roosevelt wants a declaration of war. great, but can we afford it? let's refer it to budget and appropriations so they can crunch the numbers!

what an ass.

Posted by: mudwall jackson on July 22, 2009 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

I'd love to see her reaction if someone suggested that an attack like 9/11 be handled via PAYGO rules.

I bet she'd see things a tad differently.

Posted by: Mark D on July 22, 2009 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK


Just like what Bill Maher said, "the Democrats have moved to the right and the GOP has moved into a mental hospital." WIth Bachmann, Blackburn, and Castle this week, it's been completely outrageous. What next?

Posted by: ctrenta on July 22, 2009 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

Indeed, Liam J:

How many 'emergency supplementals' for Iraq were rammed through Congress, with nary a peep from supposed fiscal scolds as Blackburn?

Much like the 'terrorist alert threat level' that is always interestingly at orange, if there were a 'hypocrisy level' for Republican members of Congress, it might as well be painted permanently at red.

Posted by: terraformer on July 22, 2009 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

"Let's agree that we're going to have PAYGO enforcement," she [Blackburn] told her colleagues. "That we're not going to cry 'emergency' every time we have a Katrina, [...]

Indeed. It would have been much more fiscally responsible to have put all hurricanes and tsunamis on a terrorist/no fly list... Problm fixed and hardly costs a penny.

Posted by: exlibra on July 22, 2009 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

go back 68 years ago to Dec. 8, 1841.

Well the commentor who said this does use the same handle as a civil war general :)

(Althoughe exactly which general was called Mudwall Jackson is a little obscure):

http://74.125.93.132/search?q=cache:-H-wDUtNFPQJ:www.bluegraymagazine.com/Files/mudwall%2520jackson.pdf+mudwall+jackson&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&ie=UTF-8

Posted by: rea on July 22, 2009 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

So when does Rep. Blackburn call the families of the 33 people who died in her state from a single tornado last year and tell them that, while she feels real sorry for them, it wasn't a genuine emergency and they shouldn't expect any federal money to help rebuild?

Of course, you notice that she carefully left tornadoes of her list of fake emergencies. I'm sure that, for Rep. Blackburn, a natural disaster that hits her state is an emergency, but a natural disaster that hits any other state is their own problem.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on July 22, 2009 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

I really hope this nutter is willing to show up on Maddow or anywhere else willing to ask her tough, direct questions...

I would love the soundbite that asks for her response to 9/11 vs PAYGO... I mean, we don't want to go around crying "emergency" or "catastrophe" before we've had a chance to understand the budgetary impacts of what's happening...

Posted by: Mike on July 22, 2009 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

"we're not going to cry 'emergency' every time we have a Katrina..." - Blackburn

Hurricane Katrina was arguably worst natural disaster ever to hit the USA. So if she doesn't consider that an emergency, then she is full of shit.

Posted by: Marko on July 22, 2009 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

MarkD@1.49p wrote following:

"I'd love to see her reaction if someone suggested that an attack like 9/11 be handled via PAYGO rules.

I bet she'd see things a tad differently."

And Mike echoed his thought a little later in the comments.

But, guys, I think that Blackburn, from the heartland of America, one of Sarah Palin's REAL Americans, might not consider what happened in that Sodom and Gomorrah - New York City - as a true emergency. Just what's coming for those wicked "non-Americans".

Posted by: phoebes in santa fe on July 22, 2009 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

Well if Rep. Marsha Blackburn told me she was drowning, I would not lend a hand.

Posted by: ckelly on July 22, 2009 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

Okay, I'll say it. What a stupid bitch!

Posted by: Gallop Trollop! on July 22, 2009 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

Bush, McCain, and the rest of the Republicans demonstrated that they did not consider that Katrina was an emergency by their response. I mean a real emergency (like Terri Schaivo) would have kept Bush from going to see McCain on his birthday, right?

The reasons that Katrina was not a Republican emergency were:

1) Brown-skinned "people" were the victims, and

2) Democrats could be (and were) blamed.

Now if it were Florida under L'il Bro Jeb.....

Posted by: BuzzMon on July 22, 2009 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

I hate her.

Posted by: Danny on July 22, 2009 at 7:29 PM | PERMALINK

This woman has always been nutty, when she was on hardball I wanted to throw my shoe through the TV screen. On CNN a couple of days ago they had an item about a free hospital for the needy in her home state, there were literally thousands waiting in line and it was said that lots of them would have to return the next day - This is America?

Posted by: JS on July 22, 2009 at 7:34 PM | PERMALINK

The worst examples of "emergency" spending in recent years were off-budget appropriations for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Five years into Iraq, and seven into Afghanistan, the Bush administration was still treating these two conflicts as one-offs that shouldn't be included in the larger budget.

Did Blackburn mention them?

Posted by: Nancy Irving on July 23, 2009 at 7:18 AM | PERMALINK

Blackburn is like Bachmann's understudy. If Bachmann suddenly resigns, Blackburn will be there to pick up the crazy.

Posted by: Mark on July 23, 2009 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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