Monday, March 8, 2010

Tom DeLay: He's back...

For anyone concerned about the relative silence of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay since his ill-advised appearance on season nine of "Dancing With the Stars", it would appear he's back, and once again engaging in his particular brand of rhetoric:

From a post by Sam Stein,

Former House Majority Leader Tom Delay called Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) "brave" on Sunday for launching a one-man filibuster of unemployment benefits, arguing that they dissuaded people from going out and finding work.

DeLay made these remarks on Fox News, and though it might appear surprising to some, Monica Crowley pushed him to explain his premise regarding the unemployed:

Crowley: People are unemployed because they want to be?
Delay: well, it is the truth. and people in the real world know it. And they have friends and they know it. Sure, we ought to be helping people that are unemployed find a job, but we also have budget considerations that are incredibly important, especially now that Obama is spending monies that we don't have.

DeLay went on to describe allocating federal funds for the unemployed as "unsound policy".

There will always be those who make every effort to take advantage of "the system", whether it's Bernie Madoff operating the largest Ponzi scheme in history, AIG paying out obscene bonuses after accepting $85 billion in federal (taxpayer) money, or the relatively few individuals who choose to "milk" unemployment benefits. To hear Tom DeLay focus exclusively on the unemployed (and the rather limited "safety net" currently in place) is simply sad, not to mention wrong. However, his social views are generally quite well known: promoter of the "birther" conspiracy, opponent of government checks on corporate power, anti-labor rights, pro-life, anti-immigration (legal or illegal), pro-guns, and anti any teaching of evolution in schools. Quite frankly, if I were looking for a rational exchange of political views, I'm not sure I'd start here.
What is truly lamentable, however, is DeLay's reference to President Obama "spending monies we don't have".
It's important to look at how we got into the financial mess we find ourselves in. There's no doubt that both of our major political parties deserve blame for reckless spending. At times, it appears the only difference is in spending priorities. Former Congressman DeLay has opposed both funding the Environmental Protection Agency ("Gestapo of government"), and increasing federal funds for expanding health coverage. He voted in favor of prayer in school, and against grants for black and hispanic colleges. He voted in favor of limiting prescription drug benefits for Medicare recepients, and in favor of privatizing social security. On the other hand, DeLay never met a defense appropriations bill or weapons system he didn't support, and was an enthusiastic supporter of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
It's far too easy to scapegoat powerless segments of our population, and to toss about "red meat" slogans for political gain. Conversely, it's too easy to villify individuals like Tom DeLay, instead of giving serious consideration to the issues. Perhaps the key lies in fully undertanding the consequences of his actions, as well as our own. We may be able to brush aside political rhetoric, but it's the aforementioned consequences that are so sobering. To put the federal deficit in perspective, I invite you to click on this link: (National Priorities Project).
It may be somewhat important to view Tom DeLay "in context", but, in the long run, he's the least of our worries.

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