Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Yep, Mike: Those Desks AREN'T Free

If you were looking for a slice of the contemporary Republican Party's pathology on government and taxes, you could take a worse biopsy than tonight's back-to-back Mitt Romney-Mike Huckabee fantastiganza. 

The true-false ratio in Romney's speech was lower than a Steve Schmidt ad campaign, but what really jumped out at me was the following two gems:

Is government spending — excluding inflation — liberal or conservative if it doubles since 1980? — It's liberal!

[various other blather]

The right course is the one championed by Ronald Reagan 30 years ago and by John McCain today. It is to rein in government spending and to lower taxes...
Got that? It's terrible that spending has "doubled" [this simply can't be true as a share of the economy, but why bother fact-checking this guy?] since Ronald Reagan and his acolytes took control of the federal government, but the right course is Ronald Reagan's. I could go on about how much the GOP has done to rein in spending, and the long-term effects of their tax policies on lifetime tax burdens, but really, this stuff is all so discredited by reality that it's not worth the time.

Which is a nice segue into Huckabee's speech. It had lots of red moose in it, all of which led up to this touching finale. Let me preface by noting that, yes, I do mean the touching part sincerely, and no, I don't hate America or its troops. I respect the sacrifices of our troops more than I can describe, and at least as much as I rue the idiotic choices made by "leaders" like John McCain and his brothers in destruction George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld. But I digress. I give you Huckabee:
On the first day of school in 2005, Martha Cothren, a teacher at Joe T. Robinson High School in Little Rock, was determined that her students would not take their education or their privilege as Americans for granted. With the principal's permission, she removed all the desks from her classroom.

The students entered the empty room and asked, "Mrs. Cothren, where are our desks?"

"You get a desk when you tell me how you earn it," she replied."Making good grades?" asked one student.

"You ought to make good grades, but that won't get you a desk," Martha responded.

"I guess we have to behave," offered another.

"You will behave in my class," Mrs. Cothren retorted, "but that won't get you a desk either."

No one in first period guessed right. Same for second period.

By lunch, the buzz was all over campus... Mrs. Cothren had flipped out ....wouldn't let her students have a desk. Kids had used their cell phones and called their parents.

By early afternoon, all four of the local network TV affiliates had camera crews at the school to report on the teacher who wouldn't let her students have a desk unless they could tell her how they earned it. By the final period, no one had guessed correctly.

As the students filed in, Martha Cothren said, "Well, I didn't think you would figure it out, so I'll have to tell you."

Martha opened the door of her classroom. In walked 27 veterans, some wearing uniforms from years gone by, but each one carrying a school desk.

As they carefully and quietly arranged the desks in neat rows, Martha said, "You don't have to earn your desks. These guys already did.

"They went halfway around the world, giving up their education and interrupting their careers and families so you could have the freedom you have.

"No one charged you for your desk. But it wasn't really free. These guys bought it for you. And I hope you never forget it."
Well, I join Mike Huckabee in hoping those kids never forget that their desks weren't free. I hope that someone tells those kids that their desks cost money, and that that money came from tax revenues. Which is something that Mike Huckabee knows, since he was governor of Arkansas at the time. In fact, Mike Huckabee was attacked by the so-called Club for Growth precisely because he was willing to tax his residents to bring them government services.

Come to think of it, those troops to whom Martha Cothren so movingly paid tribute were funded through tax revenues. The medical care they were supposed to receive at Walter Reed is funded through tax revenues. The new GI Bill that passed over John McCain's objection that it was too generous to single-enlistees will be funded with tax revenues.

And while we're at it, the repairs to that bridge that collapsed in Minnesota, not far from the stage where Romney and Huckabee took their act, are being paid for using tax revenues.

And, you know, Mitt Romney understands all this, too. That universal health plan that Mitt Romney signed back when he was governor of Massachusetts? You pay for that with tax revenues, too.

Ten points to any MSM reporter who makes any of these points about these guys.

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