Another day, another political STD.
One gets the insistent feeling that Xmas elicits among Republicans thoughts of Christ, and of course the satisfactions of crucifixions. Having hoisted up the poor, much to the aforementioned savior’s incredulous despair for some carpentry work involving hammer, nails and wood, in this case drug tests for the supplicating needy, they’re on to the unemployed. Turns out the impoverished receiving benefits test positively for drugs quite a bit less than the general population in states like Florida, where a Republican governor and Republican legislature continue to bear arms in the class war against the lesser percentiles. This fact is an inconvenience of demonization, alas.
If the alacrity with which Republican members of the House embrace passage of legislation containing payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits extensions is an indication of good faith toward the American middle-class, it is with deep regret I inform you that Republicans don”t like you, they really, really don’t like you. One of their Roman soldier-inspired innovations is making unemployment benefits also contingent upon passage of a drug test, recipients reasonably concluding that as taxpayers long subsidizing the revenue base in order to draw benefits in their time of need they are being scrooged. Such are the toxicities with which Republicans have laced this legislation. What for them produces a swooning with the vapors of reactionary purism strikes the average American as an act of manifest hostility, which of course is what it actually is.
For Republicans, now holding the fashionable conservative view that the unemployed like the poor are simply lazy, and that extending benefits incentivizes sloth, yanking benefits is necessary tough love, even if the unemployed read it as an instruction to fornicate with themselves. Of course if you’ve ever voted for these guys it’s not a drug test you need it’s a psychiatric evaluation.
Don’t expect to flip to CNN for reports on lines of CEOs of petroleum companies standing in line holding cups of their urine in order to qualify for millions in direct subsidies. Neither is one likely to see members of the boards of corporations trundling cups of amber to the men in white coats in exchange for their billions in tax exemptions. The public dole for them is much less unfettered and of course stigmatized.
Along with the current Republican holiday lollapalooza of spite and obstruction in Washington there is President Obama’s capitulation, or perhaps more correctly endorsement of congress’s gratuitous militarization of the policing of terror and of these United States. Some say the new legislation simply makes permanent practices already ratified under the earlier Authorization of Military Force in 2001. Same difference, when it comes to assessing the scope of its abomination. Habeas corpus literally ain’t what it used to be.
Obama can defend himself for a pattern of subjugation to Republican strongarms with the argument that getting something useful out of Republicans was an attempt at drawing blood from a rock, and that at least he managed to get a trickle, miraculous under the circumstances (in fairness, health reform and stimulus were fairly strong, if inadequate streams).
One awaits with a vast absence of anticipation next year’s presidential election, pitting Obama with his spine of gelatin vs. the pick of the litter in the Flying Monkey Sweepstakes on the other side. Merry fucking Christmas.