The Everything Must Go Approach of Mr. Ryan’s Budget

Before this week’s Supreme Court Case on the constitutionality of health care reform, which I will be discussing at some point (heads up!), the big hullaballoo in Washington DC was the budget plan put forward by Representative Paul Ryan. Sounds like typical Washington insiders overreacting, right? I mean, come on, the guy isn’t even a Senator! But, Mr. Ryan is the chairman of the House Budget Committee and a conservative darling and so we must pay attention to what he says. This and the fact that our bothersome old constitution requires that budgets come out of the House before being considered by the Senate means that Mr. Ryan’s budget means business.

So, what does the budget entail? Cuts. More cuts. Then another cut. There are tax cuts and cuts to transportation funding. Medicare gets cut, as does its shy, but lovely cousin Medicaid. Defense spending actually gets increased and money for veterans would be ok. But other than that, more cuts than batting practice in a thorn-bush. That isn’t the best metaphor in the world, but I’m going to stick by it because it involves a whole heck of a lot of cuts.

When we get down to the details, the programs people actually know, things get pretty ugly for Mr. Paul Ryan’s budget. Ugly in a large groups of citizens with pitchforks and torches kind of way. To keep the budget balanced, everything besides defense, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security would have to go. Not that two out of the four of those don’t get cut, just that they survive, at least in name. National parks though? No money for them. The litter in the Grand Canyon is just going to have to take care of itself for a while. Food and water safety would be gone, so I hope you like lead in your tap water. I hear it adds a certain sweetness that is actually quite pleasant. See, there’s always a bright side. Federal education funding would dry up, along with money for highways. I don’t even have to write a joke for those ones, because it’s just plain hilarious. The cherry-on-top has to be that federal law enforcement would be forced to cease. Border Patrol: Gone! Secret Service: Vanished! FBI: No more!

I have to give Mr. Ryan credit though. This is a budget. It is a plan for taking in revenue and spending it, which is certainly what he was going for. That much is uncontroversial. So good job Paulie boy! There’s at least one thing we can agree on!


The Presidentialness of Newt Gingrich

According to the National Journal, Newt Gingrich has begun charging his supporters $50 for the pleasure, nay privilege, of taking a photograph with him. This is his latest desperate (and I’ve used the word desperate deliberately) to keep his campaign going, regardless of what those pesky voters do.

I think it’s time for a little thought experiment. If Newt charges $50 for a photo, and taking a photo is a 30 second process, it is fair to say that the Gingrich campaign values their candidate’s time at $100 a minute. And 30 seconds is a liberal estimate, given that photographers are literally dealing with the speed of light every time they snap a picture. At $100 a minute, this man could reinvigorate the economy by himself if he concentrated himself on something other than a losing campaign for president.

But he won’t do that because casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson keeps pouring money into super PACs determined to prop up the defeated husk of our former Speaker a la Weekend At Bernie’s. And while “casino billionaire” is the most baller title I’ve ever heard, I have to fault the guy for giving Newt even the slightest hope. At this point a vote for Newt is worth no more than the chuckle you get after pulling the lever. Honestly though, I’m not surprised Newt’s campaign has become a joke; his name IS the most similar to Lizard People.

So enjoy the laughs you get watching Newt Gingrich, clad in a head scarf and huge sunglasses, hide from the paparazzi like a true diva. Because the only thing more presidential than charging people to stand next to you for 30 seconds, is acting like Madonna.

The Utter Weirdness of Herman Cain

This is a newly released video from Herman Cain’s political group. I don’t really have much to say, as I try not to wade to far into the crazy for fear of catching it. If they were going for funny, they missed and landed in creepy. Here’s a tip for all you fledgling comedians out there: people don’t tend to laugh when you murder bunny rabbits.

The Introduction of the Blog

I’ve noticed, throughout my many years on this earth, that most people don’t pay attention to politics. They know it’s important, but they have other stuff they need to do and politicians can be really, really boring. Of course working parents want their kids to get a good education, but does anyone want to listen to a 15 point plan to “reinvigorate our failing schools” after a long day at the salt mines? And a lot of the hot political topics sound an awful lot like chores: balancing the budget, taxes, transportation, financial reform. These aren’t subjects that scream “fun for my free time.”

So is it really any surprise that newspapers are struggling? Is it really a huge shocker that people are politically illiterate? Politics is boring. Anyone who has watched the House on CSPAN will agree. Government is boring. Even the Department of Justice, which sounds like something created by superheroes, is just full of lawyers. Even campaigning, which the media is absolutely obsessed with, is boring. The greatest institution in campaigning, the stump speech, is the speech a candidate gives every day, multiple times. Even before we start talking about the content of the speech, it’s already stale by definition.

But to be fair to the politicians and pundits, it’s not easy getting people interested in this stuff. The shadowy elites tried infusing some action into the process, but no one believed that the President’s motorcade was a fast-paced car chase. Sex scandals catch the attention of the masses, but the pivot from tickling interns back to the open seats on the National Labor Relations Board is pretty tough.

Perhaps it’s just that I’m an elitist, northeastern liberal, or maybe it’s because I fall perfectly into their key demographic groups, but it seems to me that Jon Stewart and Stephan Colbert have been managing to keep politics pretty interesting for the last few years. People like laughing. People even like the sound of laughing; if they didn’t, why is the laugh-track such an irreplaceable institution? The promise of comedy brings people in, and the absolute ridiculousness of politics gets them to stay.

That’s what I will try to do with this blog. I want to infuse politics with comedy and leave people on the other side of my articles with a bit of information they remember. Eventually, those bits will smush together to make a blob, at which point they will be only one letter away from having their own blog. And that’s the American dream isn’t it?