Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Talking Points Memo:

So with the stimulus bill now fully passed and signed into law, are there still any Republican governors who might actually go so far as refuse some or all of the cash, even if it goes against the immediate interests of their states? The answer is Yes.

Joe Klein:

...I've just spent a few weeks outside the country and, when you take a step away from the media maelstrom, the overwhelming impression is the sheer volume and severity of the problems that the country and the world--and our new President--are facing right now. This is a global crisis. A great many people are being hurt badly. There is a real chance that it will get much, much worse.

... It seems some Republican governors are weighing whether or not to accept their share of the money. Reading between the lines, it seems they're most opposed to what Sarah Palin calls "social programs." That is, programs like Medicaid that are intended to help the poor....

Social programs. Lovely. In a once-in-a-lifetime downturn.

I think the role models for the GOP were described by Marlon Brando as Colonel Kurtz in a grim monologue in Apocalypse Now:

I remember when I was with Special Forces...Seems a thousand centuries ago...We went into a camp to inoculate the children. We left the camp after we had inoculated the children for polio, and this old man came running after us and he was crying. He couldn't see. We went back there and they had come and hacked off every inoculated arm. There they were in a pile...A pile of little arms.

The difference between this and what the Republicans want to do, or at least want to be seen threatening to do, is just a difference of degree.

Brando goes on to say:

And I thought: My God...the genius of that. The genius. The will to do that. Perfect, genuine, complete, crystalline, pure. And then I realized they were stronger than we.

If GOP governors reject stimulus money, especially for the neediest, it's because that's how they want to be seen -- not as public servants but as ruthless embodiments of pure will.

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