...Then Piss In Their Smoldering Eye-Sockets, Then Laugh Maniacally While Outlawing Gay Marriage, So Please Give Us Money (...was that too much?)
President Bush has a budget. A $2.9 trillion budget to keep this country running for another year. And in his budget this year he's made his disdain known for the Corporation of Public Broadcasting, asking for Congress to cut its annual budget by almost 25%. But don't worry about Grover and Company (wait a tic, is Grover still on Sesame Street anymore? all I see is Elmo when I flip by); it's not going to happen for two reasons.
One, we've got a Democratic Congress. And they looooooove PBS. No dice, Mr. President. Those nasty Checks and Balances win again.
And two, no one takes this budget seriously. Not even in the good old days when the Republicans ran the Capital Rotunda.
Actually, when I said this budget was for the next year, I kind of lied. This proposed budget will keep the country running for 365 days from October 2007, when the fiscal year for the federal government actually begins. Basically, the president presents a budget every year on the first Monday of February. The Senate and the House kick it around for a couple of months, add things, delete things, add things, rewrite things, argue loudly, then quietly add a few more things and pass it. The end result looks very different from what the president proposed, but that's just the way things go -- no matter who's in control of Congress.
This president has run up quite the tab since he took office, turning an annual budget surplus (taking in more money than the government could spend) into a sizable annual deficit (spending more money than the government collected). It's all over those books you see propped up in Borders or Barnes and Noble -- you know the ones: Spend That Money, You Big-Government Jackass!; Lies, Lies, Lies and Where the Hell Did Our Surplus Go?; and my personal favorite, Our President is a Great, Big Douchebag Who Spent All Our Children's Money, Right After He Stole the Election and Invaded Iraq to Liberate Their Oil....Douchebag.*
What my point is, is this: Our president is trying to make up for all that spending by presenting a paper-tiger budget with a bunch of cuts that he knows and Congress knows and really everyone in Washington knows will never be passed. With a Republican Congress, maybe you get a few. With a Democratic one, fat chance. But the president has promised to cut the annual budget deficit by the time he leaves office, which in Washington lingo means, "Pretend to try to cut the annual budget deficit, then blame Congress when your pretense fails, thus cementing your legacy as a 'trier' who couldn't get his way, but was basically a good guy with a good heart so please vote for Condi. Please."
And everyone comes out happy. President Bush looks like a tough, fiscal conservative (excuse while I laugh for a few minutes, uncontrollably, until I pass out....okay, I'm back). Democrats in Congress get a fun punching bag to punch to rally the troops 'round. And progressive groups get a few punches in too, raising millions of dollars with which to fight the Evil Empire in the process (the president is taking away Sesame Street and NOVA! give Concerned Citizens against Abstinence and Coal Power craploads of your money!). See, smiles all around.
Cause it's this game. A game that both sides have been playing for a long time. And the funny things is, after all the blustering about killing Grover or Elmo or John McLaughlin, nothing actually changes, except for the hundreds of millions of dollars that change hands during that whole punching process I mentioned above. If we were smart, we'd just ignore this budget, try not to get so pissy, and write a new budget, a better budget, a budget with little hearts and smiley faces drawn in the margins.
But who can resist scaring the crap out of America? They're taking away Elmo for Godsakes! For the actual sake of Christ-crucified, don't you see what we must do! Don't you see why this man in so terrible and evil and wants to rape your country! Don't you see the monstrous overhead it takes to run this non-profit organization that protects you from this evil man, who is wanting to rape your country!
See? Now isn't screaming that so much more satisfying than reason and compromise? I'll say.
*I'm pretty sure those books don't actually exist. They might. I just haven't been inside a Borders for while to either confirm nor deny their physical existence.