Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

An Instant Classic

It’s not often that I post a diary that consists almost entirely of something someone else wrote, but in this case I think it is excusable. John Cole of fame posted a diary today that reminded me of why I like his writing so much. It should become required reading for anyone interested in how our political system works. If you have a few minutes to spare you should read the whole post instead of only reading the few bits I’ve posted here.…

James Joyner reacts to the news that 1 in 8 Americans is on food stamps with surprise (a surprise I share) and has the following to say:

I’m of mixed minds on all this. We should help the working poor – and their children – get enough to eat. Ditto those too disabled to work and provide for themselves. De-stigmatizing aid to such people – and even reaching out to make sure they know help’s available – makes sense.

But, rather clearly, we’ve taken this to absurd levels, creating a self-licking ice cream cone in which the program’s main focus is on expanding the program. Do we really need to be providing food stamps to able-bodied college graduates who are Americorps volunteers? Or, indeed, if we think Americorps is so valuable, why not provide a stipend so its “volunteers” can afford to feed themselves rather than treating them as indigents?

Hey! We agree! We should help those who can not feed themselves otherwise, and if we value Americorps volunteers, we should afford them a stipend and not make them have to use a program designed to be a stopgap measure.

But here is the thing- we can’t do anything about it. I’m sure the House could pass a bill containing a small stipend for Americorps volunteers- in fact, I bet it would get a good bit of support. It might even be very popular with the entire country, as well as being good policy! Likewise, I bet almost all the Democrats and even some Republicans in the Senate would be in favor of passing that bill.

Except the bill would never pass, and I’m surprised James does not recognize that he is operating in a fantasy world. Once the bill hit the Senate, the fun would begin. Even though in the past there were probably numbers of Republicans who supported Americorps, the large majority of them would just flat out say no.

First off, we all know who loves Americorp- the Clenis. From there, it is all downhill. Breitbart would seize upon the bill, and claim that the anonymous stipend is just President Obama seeking to pay off his campaign volunteers- just like the KHMER ROUGE, POL POT, STALIN, AND DUVALIER! They would find some innocuous aspect of Americorps and turn it into something that is no doubt worse than Hitler. Like, for example- Americorps VISTA.

The subservient GOP drones in the blogs would pick up everything Breitbart has said. Instapundit and Reason magazine would wake from their glibertarian slumber to denounce this “vast, wasteful expansion of government.”

Malkin would start printing the addresses of Americorps volunteers, and would have her internet sleuths post a facebook picture of an Americorps worker drunk four years ago while in college. By this time, the noise machine is in full swing, and Rush, Glenn Beck, Hannity, the Heritage Foundation, the rest of the Koch funded “think tanks,” Fox News, the NY Post and the Washington Examiner, the NR, and the Weekly Standard and the other wingnut welfare publications would all embark on another disinformation campaign.

At around this point, the Democratic firing squad starts. The usual suspects would start blaming this on Rahm, and screaming “Why isn’t Obama using his bully pulpit more” and “Bush would have gotten his bill!” Folks like me would start yelling at the usual suspects, instead of the Republicans and the noise machine which is to blame for this mess.

And then, quietly, the bill that James and I and the majority of the House, Senate, and American people all agree would be a good thing, slowly and without any dignity dies. The beltway pundits, feeling no shame for their part in amplifying the bullshit from the noise machine, would then begin 100,000 horse race pieces discussing how this is bad for Obama and good for Republicans, and what role this will play in the 2010 elections.

Most frustrating of all, when you point this all out to reasonable conservatives like James Joyner, that Republican obstinacy is keeping legislation that even they in the past have supported from passing, they’ll just dismiss you and say the Republicans are just playing hardball politics.

And that sick feeling you have in your stomache [sic] right now? That just means you know I am right.

Go read the whole thing. I guarantee you’ll like it.