Tom DeLay: People are unemployed because they want to be . . .
The following article was in today’s Huffington Post:
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.
Appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union,” the Texas Republican said that Bunning’s fiscal responsibility was commendable, even if his shenanigans (refusing to allow unemployment benefits to be considered by unanimous consent) nearly brought the Senate to a halt.
“Nothing would have happened if the Democrats had just paid for [the benefits],” Delay said. “People would have gotten their unemployment compensation. I think Bunning was brave in standing up there and taking it on by himself.”
Asked whether it was bad strategy to make a budget stand on a $10 billion extension of unemployment (as opposed to, say, the Bush’s $720 billion prescription drug package), Delay insisted that if the PR had been done right, Bunning would have been applauded. Helping the unemployed with federal assistance, he said, was unsound policy.
“You know,” Delay said, “there is an argument to be made that these extensions, the unemployment benefits keeps (sic) people from going and finding jobs. In fact there are some studies that have been done that show people stay on unemployment compensation and they don’t look for a job until two or three weeks before they know the benefits are going to run out.
Host Candy Crowley: Congressman, that’s a hard sell, isn’t it?
Delay: it’s the truth.
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.’
I am also including a section from the full transcript that was not part of the Huffington Post article.
[question from Crowley taken from full transcript of interview appears before "Nothing would have happened . . ." paragraph: But we also see, when we poll that rage, if you will, that people are just as angry if not a little more angry at Republicans than they are at Democrats. And I look at this past week with Senator Bunning, and the holding up the unemployment benefits emergency legislation, because you know that one of the raps against Republicans is that it's an angry party of white men who don't really care about the unemployed or the uninsured, and it doesn't seem to me that the Bunning situation helped your cause.
DeLay's response: No, I think he rallied people around him, to be honest with you. I -- it didn't help the Republican cause because the Republicans did not rally around him, the elected Republicans . . . the rage against Republicans that's out there is they want to see Republicans stand on principles and fight for those principles.]
“For me, the most disturbing aspect of the Republican political culture is how it puts its unquenchable thirst for power, domination and a radical ideology above facts, reason and the truth.” ~ Former Vice President Al Gore
Where do I begin to respond to such crap? May I just inject the term sweeping generalization? Or circular logic? Non sequitur, anyone? Or how about a good old verbal fallacy of composition (people are unemployed because they want to be, and people in the real world know it). Okay, maybe not a true fallacy of composition, but you get my point.
Delay is a douchebag, a dirtball, a divisive so-and-so. It is so easy to cast stones from that glass house, isn’t it Mr. Indictment? I know that you said that you wish you were in the middle of the healthcare reform fight right now, but wait, you lost your seat because of a little thing called ethics, wasn’t it? Never mind. Capitalizing on that former Senate seat as a political consultant keeps you off the unemployment rolls, especially since everyone turns a blind eye to the $190,000 in illegal campaign contributions. What’s a couple of hundred grand between friends?
I know that Corey has been sitting around on his butt for the past two years and that our family has been living the high life with a combined income of disability and unemployment because we like it like this. Yes sir. Boy oh boy, do we. I’m thinking of hiring a personal trainer next week because we are so flush.
I want to know who these people in the real world are of whom Delay speaks and where I can find them. I mean, let’s just use the facts for a moment, shall we? Unemployment statistics are hovering at around 10 percent, and as I’ve pointed out, that is not including the underemployed, the full-time employees who have been cut to part-time, or those whose unemployment has been exhausted. Go to the grocery store. If there are 20 people in line in total at all of the registers, at least two of them are unemployed, and it would be hard to say how many of them fall into the second category.
When you are walking down the street, look around you. At least two of the people near you are unemployed or underemployed. Look at their faces. Do they look happy to you? Content? At peace with the status quo? Take it a step further: Look at all twenty of those people in line at the grocery store. How many of them actually look happy? This is not a happy country right now. People as a whole are not happy. People who are lucky enough to have jobs know that they should be happy, but that doesn’t stop them from worrying about the next round of cuts at their factory, or store, or university.
No One Is Safe. It’s not a matter of the haves (with the exception of a top tier that has remained untouched), and the have-nots. What you have today could be taken away tomorrow, or next week, or next month.
And please. Before you get on your roll and try to blame it on Obama or Congress, let’s try to be a bit realistic. Democrats have had power for 15 months. George Bush was in the White House for eight years or 96 months, which means that President Obama has had roughly 15.6 percent of the time in office that Bush had. And with obstructionist Republicans like Bunning and former Senator Delay sticking their feet out in the aisles so as to prevent any forward volition, it’s a miracle that anything has been done.
In the words of the inimitable Andy Rooney:
“Republicans . . . are conservatives who think it would be best if we faced the fact that people are no damned good. They think that if we admit that we have selfish, acquisitive natures and then set out to get all we can for ourselves by working hard for it, that things will be better for everyone. They are not insensitive to the poor, but tend to think the poor are impoverished because they won’t work. They think there would be fewer of them to feel sorry for if the government did not encourage the proliferation of the least fit among us with welfare programs.”
Bah, I say. Bah.
More later. Peace.
Sheryl Crow, “Murder in My Heart”