Monday, April 11, 2011

Vulture Droppings: Budget negotiated, or theater of the absurd

Vulture Droppings is a semi-regular feature of this blog. It's a kind of "Random Thoughts" post in which I try to quickly summarize a particularly large event or series of events. Think of it being sort of like what a vulture leaves behind after devouring a horse. You don't get the whole horse, just highly processed leftovers.

At one point in the budget negotiations, Il Duce said, "It's time for adults to take over the budget talks."

As if!

Sadly for We the People, there are no adults in Washington. It makes for a lousy government. But it also makes for great theater, if "theater of the absurd" is your preference.

This edition of Vulture Droppings looks at the absurdities of the past week's negotiations.

First, a little history.

Normally a budget is proposed shortly after the State of the Union speech and approved well before the end of the current fiscal year in September. Last year was different. Even with a Donkey as president, a Donkey-controlled House (by a big margin), and a Donkey-controlled Senate (with a 60-40 supermajority), Congress was unable (or, more accurately, unwilling) to complete a budget prior to the end of FY10. They elected to punt. The government has run on "continuing resolutions" for this entire fiscal year.

Fast forward to March. NOW all of the sudden it's the end of the world if the budget doesn't get passed! Mark this down on your score card as Childish Act #1.

But that was minor league compared with what would follow. Over the past two weeks we've been treated to juvenile behavior the likes of which is seldom seen in any government at any time.

First it was the Elephants, trying to slip in targeted cuts based on pure ideology. Oh, don't get me wrong: the government has no business giving tax dollars to Planned Parenthood, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (PBS), National Public Radio (NPR), or the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Each and every one of those things need to have their funding cut. But, by playing the ideology card during a period in which the stated goal was to avert a shutdown (and the resultant boost to a wounded and vulnerable president: see Clinton, Bill), the Elephants proved yet again that they are the Stupid Party.

Not ones to let an opening go to waste, the Donkeys used the de-funding of Planned Parenthood as the focus of their retrenchment strategy. Or as an excuse to come unhinged, depending on your viewpoint.

Sen. Charles Schumer roared, "The dangerous, ideological cuts to Planned Parenthood that passed the House are never, never, never going to pass the Senate.” Never mind that your dangerous, ideological spending on Planned Parenthood is part of our debt problem. Schumer also got in a cheap shot against the Tea Party, saying, “What we have here is a flea, wagging a tail, wagging a dog,”

Congresswoman Louise Slaughter said that Republicans are "here to kill women". Get hysterical much?

Nevada's curse on the country, Sen. Harry Reid, said, "Republicans want to shut down the government because they think there's nothing more important than keeping women from getting cancer screenings. This is indefensible and everyone should be outraged." Srsly, Harry? That was stupider and more hysterical than Congresswoman Slaughter. He also took a shot at the Tea Party, saying, "[T]he Tea trying to push its extreme social agenda, issues that have nothing to do with funding the bill." Extreme? Really, Harry? This from the guy selling "Republicans support cancer in women"?

And, as carefully choreographed as it always is, professional protesters appeared on the scene, complete with hysterical signs like, "Republicans! Stay away from my vagina!

You can't make this stuff up.

The Elephants were more restrained, but still managed to underwhelm. House Majority Leader Boehner haughtily sniffed that the Donkeys weren't serious about cutting spending. Various members of Congress sniped at the idea of our troops not getting paid. Uh, whose fault would THAT be, exactly?

To the Elephants' credit, Sen. Paul Ryan presented a serious budget plan that would result in eliminating the debt. This plan, of course, was met with hysteria by none other than the former Air Force 3, Nancy Pelosi, who called the plan "a path to poverty for America's seniors [and] children and a road to riches for big oil". Damn, Nancy! You hit two hot button moonbat issues in one fell swoop.

For the record, Sen. Ryan's plan has a snowball's chance on the plains of Hell of passing.

Bottom line, nothing real was accomplished. The Elephants and their sycophants at Fox News are trumpeting a GOP victory. Victory? Srsly? You reduced spending by $31 billion in a budget whose deficit alone is $1,500 billion! That's a victory?

No, that's sad.

Coming soon: the rematch, as the Elephants and the Donkeys renew their kabuki dance with the looming debt ceiling brawl. Hilarity will ensue. Sadly, hilarity will ensue.