Thursday, June 26, 2003

Like a lot of states, Missouri is having budget problems right now. Specifically, the Republican-controlled legislature has sent the Democratic governor (Bob Holden) several budgets that respond to the budget crisis (caused by a sluggish economy, funding cuts from the feds, and unfunded federal mandates) by cutting services and, of course, cutting taxes. Constitutionally, deficit spending is not possible, and Holden maintains that (1) these are not balanced budgets and (2) they contain unacceptable cuts to education. He's already cut over a billion dollars from various other areas, but stands by his assertion that it's better to close tax loopholes favoring large corporations or increase taxes on gambling than to cut education spending any further. It's frustrating as hell, but the Missouri GOP has been out of touch with reality for so long now that I can't call it surprising.

But this did surprise me: Christie visits a lot of rural schools for her job, and she's learned to keep her mouth shut about politics. It's the only workable option when you're a liberal state employee visiting mostly conservative rural areas, now that conservatives have adopted the victimology that used to be the hallmark of the extreme left wing. She's had to bite her tongue more than once at hearing a group of teachers complaining that they wouldn't be getting raises again this year, and so-and-so got let go, class size is going up, and it's all Governor Holden's fault. If it were me listening in, I wouldn't be able to bite my tongue, because my jaw would be on the floor.

Where does this stuff come from? The media around here aren't exactly The New York Times (tee hee), but they do get the basic facts right. Like Holden vetoing a budget because it has too many cuts to education, and it being sent back to the Republican legislature so they can refuse to fix it. It's happened a half-dozen times now. I have three thoughts on where these folks might be getting the idea to blame Democrats for their problems.

1. It's beamed down from the mothership every night, along with the idea that Saddam used WMDs when we invaded back in March.

2. Talk radio.

3. Their Democrats=Bad, Republicans=Good filter is so strong that their brains actually rearrange the words in the news stories to fit the filter.

In other news, there's a car in the parking lot at work with two bumper stickers. One has an American flag and the word "Indivisible." The other says "Recall Holden". The contradiction has, apparently, not yet sunk in.

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