Celebrating pretend and cruel Conservatives

Bobo somehow managed to survive his latest access-induced fever to scribble down some notes involving a wonderful dream he had about a “fiscal Conservative” named Meg Whitman. You see, Meg is a total babe because she spent $120 million on her campaign to become California’s governor, but she has the common decency to keep an old Ford in her garage, which tells you she’s One Of Us.

Whitman serves on what Bobo has dubbed the “austerity caucus,” but could more accurately be described as the “hypocrite squad.” What makes Whiteman sexy, according to Bobo, is that she isn’t flashy like Sarah Palin, but rather “detail-oriented, managerial, tough-minded, effective but a little dry.” Apparently, “flamingly contradictory” didn’t make the cut, though the label fits.

The “fiscally Conservative” Whitman supported the bank bailout. At the time, she called it “the right thing to do.” Meanwhile, the other GOP rockstars Bobo lists as part of the austerity caucus: Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, Jeb Bush, Gov. and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana are guilty of blatant hypocrisy when it comes to austerity measures, and dickensian budget cuts that play well in elite GOP circles, but which actually hurt real life people Bobo and Company will never have to meet.

Bobby Jindal first rejected stimulus, and then later attempted to take credit for it, and Jeb Bush praised President Obama’s Race to the Top program, part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 AKA “the stimulus.” The austerity cheerleaders are all for slashing spending…until their states really need the cash, at which point they quietly pocket the money and hope the media and the voters never hold them accountable.

Hilariously, Bobo brags that this D-team is being assisted by such intellectual giants as Bob Grady, who did budgeting for Dubya, the guy who racked up the deficit in the first place with his military occupations, and tax breaks for the wealthy.

He goes on to praise Whiteman’s devotion to budget cuts with the sterile indifference of a villain’s chief advisor, peering down at a burning village from the top of Sauronian minaret- drumming his fingertips together while muttering, “Good….good.”

At no point does he dwell on the question: who do the cuts affect? Perhaps because the answer is depressing. In the state of New Jersey, the cuts affect teachers, but those people don’t really count because they weren’t “willing,” according to Bobo, to chip in 1.5 percent of their salaries to help pay for health benefits. This is the GOP mindset: “willing” now substitutes for “able.” As long as they’re breathing, the underclass can – and should – always sacrifice a little more. Christie also had the option of raising taxes on the wealthy, but he just couldn’t bring himself to do this because it would, you guessed it, hurt business leaders AKA the people who matter.

Some have accused Christie of waging a war against teachers, and all public servants. Alan Singer, a Social studies educator at Hofstra University, writes

A day after he was inaugurated as Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie issued an Executive Order which reduced the state’s maximum contribution to public employee pension funds. This was not a surprise. In his campaign for Governor, Christie had blamed public workers for the state budget deficit. Trade unions knew through leaked memoranda even before Christie was inaugurated that his advisers were planning to divide the labor movement, which has historically been strong in New Jersey, by pitting public employees against other workers.

Christie proclaimed his own version of a “class war” with the comment that there are “two classes of people in New Jersey: Public employees who receive rich benefits and those who pay for them.” Christie’s demagoguery has most sharply been directed against teachers and their unions. He called the National Education Association (NEA) the “National Extortion Association.”

If you’re not part of the “right class” of people, you shouldn’t expect help from Big Government, which exists only to support the wealthy.

But isn’t this all about greedy teachers suckling on Uncle Sam’s withered teat?

The reality of course is that New Jersey public employees are neither living high on their pension benefits, nor are they the cause of the state’s complex fiscal crisis. In terms of income, public sector employees earn less than their counterparts in the private sector. This, however, is balanced out by their health and pension benefits, what many Europeans called “social incomes.” The pension “crisis” in New Jersey, as in other states, has been the result primarily of the larger stock market crisis and the raiding of pension funds. States and communities have been “skipping” payments to these funds in order to balance budgets. As of 2009, when Christie took office, all public pension funds in New Jersey were underfunded by $46 billion.

Oh well. More pension cuts should sort all of that out.

The anti-big government Christie has repeatedly demanded New Jersey communities “renegotiate” existing contracts with public employees and threatened them with cutoffs of state aid. Read the entire undressing here to see just how cruel this asshole is.

And now, Whitman has declared her desire to bring the New Jersey model to California.

She promised to slash an additional $15 billion in spending and reduce the state government work force by 40,000, reiterating points she made earlier in the week when she formally announced her candidacy. She provided no details about how she would achieve those goals.

I’m guessing the finer details are: “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”

The problem with analysis from ivory tower types like Bobo is they have zero understanding of the real life consequences of the policies they propagandize. Does David Brooks understand the impact of a 30% co-pay for health benefits? Unlikely, but that’s the kind of cruel measure Christie is proposing, and which Bobo supports.

Maybe if Christie one day proposes getting rid of useless sycophantic columnists at dying publications, Bobo will change his tune, but until then, as long as it’s only The Little People who are being asked to sacrifice, he’ll continue to carry on as a pathetic cheerleader for hypocrites and despots.

Update: In the comments, Carly reminded me that Christie vetoed $7.5 million for family planning centers, causing one facility to close its doors, while at least two more are expected to close by the end of November. As Carly puts it, “He thinks women’s health is a joke.”

14 Comments

  1. sinn4

    What’s interesting is the weapon of sewing divisions within the working-class is now being used like never before(it was always used to some extent) You see this in alot of right-wing populism, like the Tea Party. Public workers aren’t just another section of the working-class, they’re lazy, unaccountable parasites sucking money from ‘us taxpayers’. Notice how ‘taxpayer’ is a vague class-free abstraction that lumps billionaires and other workers into the same group.

  2. sinn4

    BTW, Glenn Beck is very much all aflutter about Chris Christie, and he’s constantly urging him to run for president on his radio show.

  3. Allison Kilkenny

    Another reason to mistrust the man.

  4. it blows my mind when these douchebags argue that the TARP money was “necessary” — it’s just a loan that is being paid back – but food stamp money we just piss away. Entitlements directly stimulate the economy – a legitimate government duty in its own right – on top of providing needed relief to working class moms and dads who have been screwed over by (oh yeah) those same douchebags. I think those TARP-queens just spend the money on drugs. Can we have them tested?

  5. Laurel from Winston Salem

    I am a single mother, unemployed new graduate registered nurse. As such I am receiving Medicaid and am dependent upon this entitlement to get health care for my six year old son. I have to work with social services workers to keep this insurance. They are always over worked and often have difficulty keeping up individual cases. I have experienced the same difficulty working with the child support enforcement branch of social services. These public servents do their best but the lack of funding to hire enough workers impacts those of us who need the help the most. ’cause, you know, public servents and those they serve are just trying to suck those teats.

  6. Carly

    Chris Christie also completely eliminated family planning funding in New Jersey. He referred to women’s health as “political theater.” I volunteer for Planned Parenthood and we have been fighting really hard to restore it but he keeps shutting us down. He thinks women’s health is a joke. Health and education are easily two of the most necessary things for our society but he looks down on them like they are completely meaningless. I guess it is understandable considering it is clear by his ignorant decisions education didn’t work out well for him and by his appearance he’s probably not that healthy.

  7. Allison Kilkenny

    Thanks. I forgot about this. Including it in an update.

  8. Allison Kilkenny

    You’re right. I’ve spoken with social workers, and they’re completely overwhelmed. They’re also keenly aware that the amount of aid people receive is barely enough to help them scrape by. It’s hardly lavish, teat-sucking amounts.

  9. Allison Kilkenny

    Yes, it’s definitely a case of skewed priorities. We somehow have enough money to continue two permanent military occupations and give tax breaks to the wealthy, but we don’t have enough in the budget to help citizens when they fall on hard times. The current model is totally unsustainable, but the myopic leadership doesn’t really care as long as they get theirs.

  10. Pingback: The morality disconnect at Unreported

    [...] I briefly recapped the blatant hypocrisy displayed by certain Republicans in regards to the stimulus. Bobby Jindal and Jeb Bush, two [...]

  11. MS

    I LOVE DEFICITS.
    The hell with Bobo and the Gasbags.
    At this time, all states except for Vermont must have a balanced budget.
    I say, get rid of that.
    Jude Wanniski was a conservative activist, who came up with the “Two Santa Claus theory.”
    In the 1970’s, Democrats were giving things to people who needed them. They were “Santa Claus.” GOPer’s proposed taking away the goodies, so they were not.
    Wanniski said the hell with that. He said to cut the taxes while maintaining or even increasing spending. You have the two Santas of tax cuts and spending.
    From a New Jersey point of view, they should get a state constitutional amendment saying that deficit spending is allowed and not prohibited. And it should be followed by a federal constitutional amendment saying that each state MUST ALLOW deficit spending.
    These measures would have some appeal to members of state legislatures, I would hope. It gives a way to maintain important programs when times are tough.
    I am from Massachusetts. I am familiar with these Northeastern states. The GOP runs someone for governor based on “TAX CUTS, TAX CUTS, TAX CUTS” and a tolerable version of mom and apple pie. And they often get the governorship.
    With a governor like “Fred Flintstone” Christie, it would be better for the state to maintain teachers and public services, and go in the hole, than to decimate the schools and the desperately poor to balance the budget.
    Christie is also working for his base in attacking public employees and teachers because many of them are UNIONIZED. Unions raise pay for working people, and Christie and his base want the peasants to work cheap or starve.
    Does anyone disagree with what I am proposing here? ON WHAT BASIS? Let me know
    P.S. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A $1500 TOILET SEAT COVER, YOU BONEHEADS!!!!!

  12. Jen

    This bullshit is playing out in Wisconsin too. The Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Walker wants to force state employees to pay for their pension plans. An AP article on his website says “Walker said he would look at any legal option he had to force unionized workers to pay for their benefits even if they refused to negotiate.” There are also some 30,000 non-union state workers who are presumably more vulnerable. This is on top of mandatory furloughs state employees in the past year or two.

    This guy is doing really well in the polls, along with hypocritical asshole Ron Johnson running against Feingold.

  13. MS

    All we need is tax cuts!

    TAX CUTS TAX CUTS TAX CUTS!!!!!! WHIPPEEE-WOOOO!

    The hell with schools. The hell with the poor and needy,and infrastructure.

    These right wing bastards are using this to BUST UNIONS, and CUT WAGES, so that people will WORK CHEAP or STARVE.

    Cheap labor is what the right wing is about CHEAP LABOR on economic issues.

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