“The House of Representatives has been cutting like crazy! Down with Planned Parenthood and PBS! We can’t afford to worry about mercury contamination! Safety nets are too expensive! But keep your hands off the Defense Department’s budget to sponsor Nascar racers. “It’s a great public/private partnership,” said Representative Rodney Frelinghuysen, a New Jersey Republican.
The Defense Department claims racecar sponsorships are an important recruiting tool for the Army. The House agreed - although this might be news to the Navy and Marines, which decided a while back that a Nascar presence wasn’t worth the money.
“What makes U.S. Army’s motorsports initiatives successful?” Ryan Newman, driver of No. 39 U.S. Army Chevrolet asked his Facebook readers as he urged a show of support for the program. “In a 2009 study among fans nationwide, 37% feel more positive about the Army due to its involvement in motorsports.” Really!
“Representative Betty McCollum of Minnesota, who sponsored an amendment eliminating the military’s Nascar connection, said it could save taxpayers “tens of millions of dollars.” She got a flood of angry letters and one death threat. Also, her amendment was rejected, 148 to 281. The opponents didn’t bother with much debate. But I digress, Representative Steve Womack of Arkansas retracted his proposal to cut off financing for President Obama’s teleprompter.
The majority did vote, however, to eliminate money for a park in Nancy Pelosi’s district. The former House speaker has been demonized to the point that it’s safe to do anything to her short of kidnapping the family dog.
The newly ascendant Republicans have been howling that the deficit is so big, so threatening, that no target for cutting is sacred. “Everything is on the table. We’re broke,” said Boehner. But the table is mainly crowded with stuff the Republicans didn’t like to begin with. Family-planning money and environmental protection, but not OIL TAX BREAKS or NASCAR sponsorships. “Sesame Street” is fair game, but the Daytona 500 is untouchable.
In Wisconsin, the new Republican governor, Scott Walker, wants to strip state employees of their collective-bargaining rights because: “We’re broke. We’ve been broke in this state for years.” (However, that did not stop him from giving Tax Breaks and Cuts to Business Cronies.)
The Plan was foiled, however, when “Wisconsin’s Democratic state senators went into hiding to deprive the Republican majority of the quorum they need to pass Walker’s agenda. The Senate majority leader, Scott Fitzgerald - who happens to be the brother of the Assembly speaker, Jeff Fitzgerald - believes the governor is absolutely right about the need for draconian measures to cut spending in this crisis. So he’s been sending state troopers out to look for the missing Democrats. The troopers are under the direction of the new chief of the state patrol, Stephen Fitzgerald. He is the 68-year-old father of Jeff and Scott and was appointed to the $105,678 post this month by Governor Walker.”