Thursday, August 5, 2010

You Have A Funny Definition Of Victory

My inbox has received more than a few e-mails touting the Senate Dems’ big “victory” yesterday. Seems they were finally able to pass the FMAP extension which gave states money for Medicaid and prevented teacher layoffs. [Full disclosure: what really passed was some procedural bullshit which clears the way for the bill's passage, yada yada.]

Amazingly, it’s another one of those bills Republicans have been blocking for no earthly reason save to be dicks. The Democrats had to weaken the package until the usual suspects, the two Senators from Maine, agreed to vote Aye. And there was much rejoicing across the internet.

Here’s how the bill passed:
The two moderate Republicans were drawn to support the measure after Democratic leaders scaled back the measure from $24 billion to $16.1 billion and provided offsets for the entire cost of the legislation, which includes $10 billion for education programs to prevent teacher layoffs.

For liberals, the offsets came at a price: Almost $12 billion of the $26.1 billion tab is covered by cutting food stamp benefits to low-income Americans beginning in 2014. 

Food stamps. We paid for preventing teacher layoffs and Medicaid cuts by cutting food stamps.

Fuck you very much.

This isn't a victory, it's a tragedy. Quit telling me to be happy! Own up to the sorry state of the modern American legislative process! Teachable moments, people! Hell, point fingers if you want: it's perfectly okay to say, "Hey, this is what your Republican Party represents: taking food from needy families to pay for teachers and Medicaid." Last time I checked it was an election year, and aren't these the same assholes refusing to budge on letting the Bush tax cuts expire? Hello?

I know I’ve been a bit of a downer lately but it makes me nuts to get e-mails trumpeting the Senate’s “bold step forward” when I know better. Can’t we please be honest with ourselves for crying out loud?

Once again I’m being told a shit sandwich is filet mignon. It’s wearing thin, people. I know it’s been tough slogging, and I know this is a battle we very nearly didn’t win. I'm not saying it shouldn't have passed at all. But let's not pop the champagne corks. You are paying for teachers and state Medicaid by cutting food stamps. This is not a high-five moment. This is a moment to stand up and say, “we were forced to make a terrible choice today because Republicans have their priorities messed up.”

I mean for crying out loud, people. If the Republicans insist on being dicks then at least make them own it.