Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The hippy to the hip hip hop

OMG, everyone! The Republicans are totally into black people now!

First of all, the new head of the party said, and I am so not kidding, that their latest message is “off the hook,” yo. And that they plan to bring it, beeyotch, to “urban-suburban hip-hop settings.”

Wow. That is one hep cat.

And that’s not all! They have discovered another brown dude that they are pretty sure is gonna be huge. And not only is he dark-skinned, but he’s immigrant-y as well! Parents from a different country, and all that. But born in the USA, let’s just be clear about that. No birth certificate hanky-panky going on here!

Readers, as the official Republican response to Obama’s unofficial state of the union address, I give you the Governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal:

As the president made clear this evening, we are now in a time of challenge. Many of you listening tonight have lost jobs. Others have seen your college and retirement savings dwindle. Many of you are worried about losing your health care and your homes. And you are looking to your elected leaders in Washington for solutions.

What you’re not doing, is looking to the Republican elected leaders in Washington. Because it’s mostly their policies that got us into this mess.

Republicans are ready to work with the new president to provide those solutions. Here in my state of Louisiana, we don't care what party you belong to, if you have good ideas to make life better for our people. We need more of that attitude from both Democrats and Republicans in our nation's capital. All of us want our economy to recover and our nation to prosper. So where we agree, Republicans must be the president's strongest partners. And where we disagree, Republicans have a responsibility to be candid and offer better ideas for a path forward.

Warning: those “better ideas” will be the same ideas they tried to sell you in the last election.

Today in Washington, some are promising that government will rescue us from the economic storms raging all around us. Those of us who lived through Hurricane Katrina -- we have our doubts. Let me tell you a story.

Well, okay. But I’m pretty sure we just spent the last eight years listening to stories.

During Katrina, I visited Sheriff Harry Lee, a Democrat and a good friend of mine. When I walked into his makeshift office, I'd never seen him so angry. He was yelling into the phone: "Well, I'm the Sheriff and if you don't like it you can come and arrest me!" I asked him: "Sheriff, what's got you so mad?" He told me that he had put out a call for volunteers to come with their boats to rescue people who were trapped on their rooftops by the floodwaters. The boats were all lined up ready to go, when some bureaucrat showed up and told them they couldn't go out on the water unless they had proof of insurance and registration. I told him, "Sheriff, that's ridiculous." And before I knew it, he was yelling into the phone: "Congressman Jindal is here, and he says you can come and arrest him too!" Harry just told the boaters to ignore the bureaucrats and go start rescuing people.

There is a lesson in this experience: The strength of America is not found in our government. It is found in the compassionate hearts and the enterprising spirit of our citizens.

Wait a minute. Ignoring Jindal’s self-aggrandizing portion, I’m pretty sure that the hero of this story is the sheriff, right? And wasn’t he acting in his official capacity as an agent of the government when he organized the rescue? So, I mean, correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t this really a story about the compassion and wisdom of government agencies, and how the people within them ultimately have the power and the ability to overcome the nitpickers who are unable to effectively weigh the value of different courses of action? And let’s be honest; don’t those nitpickers plague not only government agencies, but also private enterprise and charitable institutions everywhere? I mean, when some idiot refuses to let you adopt a dog because your backyard fence is only 3 feet high instead of 4, does that mean that charitable institutions are the enemy? When the quality control person at your job rejects a document it took you 10 days to gather the signatures for because it was signed with fine point pens instead of medium point pens, does that mean big business is, as that idiot Reagan would say, “the problem”?

We are grateful for the support we have received from across the nation for the ongoing recovery efforts. This spirit got Louisiana through the hurricanes and this spirit will get our nation through the storms we face today.

What “spirit” is he referring to, exactly? If he means the spirit embodied by Sheriff Lee, then I take it that he means that those with big ideas can overcome the naysayers? If so, that seems like an implicit recommendation of the stimulus package to me. And somehow, I’m pretty sure that’s not what he meant.

To solve our current problems, Washington must lead. But the way to lead is not to raise taxes and not to just put more money and power in hands of Washington politicians. The way to lead is by empowering you, the American people. Because we believe that Americans can do anything.

Yeah, Americans have a great “can do” attitude. I agree.

Except, you know what I can’t do? Regulate Wall Street. I have tried, and those fuckers just won’t listen to me. I told them that sating their desire for more investment opportunities by creating bad securities was not a good idea. And I also told them that those completely unregulated credit default swaps would weaken the market by creating a situation in which the failure of one large institution would necessarily bring about the failure of many all at once. They told me to fuck off. So, when I hear traders moaning about how unfair it is that they, as taxpayers, would have to pay for the funds that Americans who can’t pay their mortgages would receive under the stimulus…let’s just say that my reaction is not one that would likely make it onto the air on CNBC.

Instead of trusting us to make wise decisions with our own money, [the Democrats] passed the largest government spending bill in history, with a price tag of more than $1 trillion with interest.

Okay, so taking away the tricky question of “interest,” the stimulus bill that was passed totaled $787 billion. Yes, that’s a lot of money. But it’s too bad the Republicans only recently discovered their disdain for government spending, otherwise we might not have spent $638 billion in Iraq so far. And that’s only the costs traceable through the Budget Authority. And unlike the stimulus spending, those dollars are all, if you’ll forgive the expression, dead. They’ve been spent. They’re gone. And for what?

While some of the projects in the bill make sense, their legislation is larded with wasteful spending. It includes $300 million to buy new cars for the government, $8 billion for high-speed rail projects, such as a "magnetic levitation" line from Las Vegas to Disneyland, and $140 million for something called "volcano monitoring." Instead of monitoring volcanoes, what Congress should be monitoring is the eruption of spending in Washington, D.C.

The 300 mil for government cars are for green cars. The high-speed rail is similarly a green project. Remember that, readers, because you will be quizzed on it later on.

And as for the volcano monitoring, 1) you need a better joke writer, and 2), it’s kind of important to monitor volcanoes, and 3), the 140 mil is for a variety of scientific projects, of which volcano monitoring is one. Yes, I know it’s shocking that Governor Jindal would play fast and loose with the facts. Let’s move on.

Democratic leaders say their legislation will grow the economy. What it will do is grow the government, increase our taxes down the line, and saddle future generations with debt. Who among us would ask our children for a loan, so we could spend money we do not have, on things we do not need? That is precisely what the Democrats in Congress just did. It's irresponsible. And it's no way to strengthen our economy, create jobs, or build a prosperous future for our children.

Well, in times of need, sometimes you do have to borrow against the future. I don’t like it either, especially since it’s essentially Republican free market fucks like him who got us into this mess that I now have to pay for, but I believe that government spending is the way out of this mess, and I’m not the only one.

When we should not leverage our future, is when we are not in need. When were we not in need? Again, the war in Iraq springs to mind. Jindal talks as if this is the first time we have incurred national debt. We’ve been running a substantial debt since 1940. When did it climb most dramatically? During the Reagan and BushCo years.

Yes, we need to pay it down. Yes, it’s wrong. But after sixty years, to try to lay the burden of our debt on to the stimulus bill is not just short-sighted, it is, if you ask me, a calculated strategy to delay our recovery.

To strengthen our economy, we need urgent action to keep energy prices down. All of us remember what it felt like to pay $4 at the pump and unless we act now, those prices will return. To stop that from happening, we need to increase conservation, increase energy efficiency, increase the use of alternative and renewable fuels, increase our use of nuclear power, and increase drilling for oil and gas here at home. We believe that Americans can do anything and if we unleash the innovative spirit of our citizens, we can achieve energy independence.

Remember, a couple of paragraphs ago, when Jindal was railing against the government investing in green cars, and a high-speed rail along one of the most emission-choked sections of highway in the US? Remember? Now, who is going to build and sell the green cars? Americans are. Who is going to make and build the high-speed rail? Americans are. THEN WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS MOTHERFUCKER TALKING ABOUT????

To strengthen our economy, we also need to address the crisis in health care. Republicans believe in a simple principle: No American should have to worry about losing their health coverage -- period. We stand for universal access to affordable health care coverage.

See, they don’t stand for you having it, they only stand for you having access to it, if you can afford it. Which you can’t. Unless your work pays, if you have a job. And if you can keep that job after you get sick. And if you can keep the insurance that costs too much after they find out that you got sick once. But other than that, it’s totally accessible.

What we oppose is universal government-run health care. Health care decisions should be made by doctors and patients, not by government bureaucrats.

Hey, we agree on something! I, too, believe that health care decisions should be made by doctors and patients. Currently, mine are being made by corporate bureaucrats.

To strengthen our economy, we must promote confidence in America by ensuring ours is the most ethical and transparent system in the world. In my home state, there used to be saying: At any given time, half of Louisiana was said to be half under water, and the other half is under indictment. No one says that anymore.

Maybe because it’s not funny anymore.

Last year, we passed some of the strongest ethics laws in the nation and today, Louisiana has turned her back on the corruption of the past.

Whoops. Spoke too soon.

We need to bring transparency to Washington, D.C., so we can rid our Capitol of corruption and ensure we never see the passage of another trillion dollar spending bill that Congress has not even read and the American people haven't even seen.

Hm. So, the bill is corrupt and your fellow Republicans in the Congress didn’t read it? Wow, care to elaborate?

As we take these steps, we must remember for all our troubles at home, dangerous enemies still seek our destruction.

Oh. I guess not.

Now is no time to dismantle the defenses that have protected this country for hundreds of years, or make deep cuts in funding for our troops. America's fighting men and women can do anything. If we give them the resources they need, they will stay on the offensive, defeat our enemies, and protect us from harm.

No one’s talking about dismantling any defenses, unfortunately. I appreciate that you are insinuating otherwise, however.

In all these areas, Republicans want to work with President Obama.

When they’re not calling him corrupt.

We appreciate his message of hope, but sometimes it seems we look for hope in different places. Democratic leaders in Washington -- they place their hope in the federal government. We place our hope in you, the American people.

Hear that, American people? Jindal believes that, inexplicably and against all evidence to the contrary, all you need is a tax cut like the ones BushCo gave you, and then you can fix the economy on your own, even though the economy is worse now than it was when you got those tax cuts that didn’t fix the economy then, even though it was not as bad as it is now. So…get to work, American people! Doing…something! Something fix-y!

You know, a few weeks ago, the president warned that our nation is facing a crisis that he said "we may not be able to reverse." Our troubles are real, to be sure. But don't let anyone tell you that we cannot recover. Don't let anyone tell you that America's best days are behind her. This is the nation that cast off the scourge of slavery…

…by defeating the conservative Southern states in civil war

overcame the Great Depression…

…with a Democratic president and massive government spending

prevailed in two World Wars…

…while increasing our national debt

won the struggle for civil rights…

…led by two Democratic presidents opposed by conservative Southerners

defeated the Soviet menace…

…with, if the Republicans’ own rhetoric is to be believed, massive increases in government spending

and responded with determined courage to the attacks of September 11, 2001…

…no thanks to a Republican administration that was determined to ignore a real threat in favor of a make-believe one.

The American spirit has triumphed over almost every form of adversity known to man, and the American spirit will triumph again.

Readers, the point of these exercises for me is always to turn the speakers' own words against them. Some people make it easier than others.


SkylersDad said...

Even a not-so-well-read viewer like me could see some of those holes in this idiots response. This is just brilliant Vikki.

Liberality said...

A super post here.

Marshall said...

Brilliant once again Vikki. Keeping it real is all one can ask. And this guy jindall is supposed to be their new "firecracker".

vikkitikkitavi said...

UPDATE: As it turns out, the money for high-speed rail is not earmarked for any special project. The Dept. of Transportation will determine how the funds will be spent. It's shocking, I know, that a Republican spokesperson would try to mislead the American people. I can't believe I didn't fact-check him on that one as a matter of course.

vikkitikkitavi said...

P.S. Also, for those of you who have seen the video comparisons of Bobby Jindal to my friend Jack McBrayer as Kenneth The Page of "30 Rock," check out his response to the comparison here:

Spooney said...

Why do the republicans even bother to say that they want to work with the president, when they obviously don’t?
It’s the same old lies and exactly what we expected out of them. I’m so fucking sick of their selling the fear of higher taxes, bigger government and terrorism. Is that all they have in their playbook, or is the fear thing still working on the sheep?

Jack is everywhere these days -good for him!

Anonymous said...

Jack McBrayer is your friend? Oh my god, how do you resist the urge to tuck that adorable guy into a pocket and carry him around for luck? I close my eyes, and Jindal sounds just like him.

That high speed rail, by the way, is that the one that's supposed to run from Vegas to Disneyland? The bogus, completely fabricated,and non-existent part of the stimulus package high speed rail? Wasn't that debunked as talking point bullshit at least one day before Governor Gilligan gave his rebuttal?

Dad E said...

Readers have any of you ever heard a member of Congress or a President say that we need to raise taxes to pay off the national debt? I am guessing you haven't because I have never heard it nor read about it happening and I am old. And you probably never will. Surpluses start to happen when the economy is doing well because the increased flow of money and therefore taxes is what creates surpluses. Which is what happened just before Bush the Younger and his "Greed is Good" boys arrived on the scene.

The GOP always digs up the old saw that deficit spending (not that it is necessarily a good thing) puts a mortgage on future generations and our children that will cripple them with a burden that will cause the most unimaginable (yet undefined) grief.

It is a mantra of conservative thought except when they are in control and doling out tax cuts for the rich.

It is also a big, smelly, pile of shit.

What we are doing now is investing in the future. Investing. I believe this is a core of the capitalistic system to promote growth.

Thanks to the "Greed Is Good" boys ruining the investment system, the federal government must come to the rescue. I shudder to think what out future would be if the GOP was still in control.

vikkitikkitavi said...

Kirby: I name-dropped. I'm ashamed of myself.

DadE: Very very very well put, DadE.

jadedj said...

Brilliant post.

Just a reminder folks...surprise at Bobby Jindal's inept performance as the Repub standard bearer, shouldn't come as a...well...surprise. These are the same people who proposed a moose-jerky-eatin' Calamity Jane as Vice President of the United States. Nuff Said.

RandyLuvsPaiste said...

And now Jindal admits his Katrina story wasn't exactly "truthful".

Bubs said...

Thank you, come again!

bubbles said...

I couldn't even listen. I'm sure that he will welcome the federal spending on flood control, huh?