In case you missed it, this past year was the year of the Republican rebrand. Yes, they were to move away from the Party of You People disdain, carefully avoiding legitimate rape and lemon pregnancies, while stepping around their contempt for arguably more than 47% of the country. All of this rebranding was to be in service of a tent that did not collapse upon them when the old Fox watching white men died.
Instead, Republicans end the year with a bang, being called Grinch and Scrooge by US News and the Daily Beast (neither of which are liberal outlets), as well as becoming a constant target in political cartoons for their now infamous miserliness when it comes to the people, and their utter spinelessness when it comes to corporations and rich white men.
So it is at the end of 2013 that 1.3 million Americans stand to lose their emergency unemployment benefits and Republican hero Rand Paul announced that he doesn’t understand what a lack of jobs means. The Kentucky Senator justified the GOP position of refusing to extend unemployment benefits to the long term unemployed with this bit of idiotic confusion, “When you allow people to be on unemployment insurance for 99 weeks, you’re causing them to become part of this perpetual unemployed group in our economy.”
The Senator apparently hasn’t stopped reading novels intended for juvenile boys because nothing in his statement reflects an awareness of reality here on Earth. On Earth, where gravity is a thing and global climate change exists, America is short on jobs. We have been since 2007. This is why President Obama has been pushing his jobs bill since he took office. But Republicans don’t believe in passing a jobs bill or in extending long term unemployment benefits, because once again they appear to believe in the Magic Fairy of Luck who creates jobs for those with good intentions and starves the children of the rest.
Some in the media are not impressed. On Christmas Eve, US News ran, “The GOP Embraces Its Inner Grinch: Republican opposition to extending unemployment benefits is cold-hearted and wrong-headed By Robert Schlesinger.”
Mr. Schlesinger wrote:
Occasionally, in politics, parties drop the pretense, stop fighting it and just embrace their caricatures. So the GOP, which every December transmogrifies in its critics’ eyes into the living embodiment of Dr. Seuss’ Grinch, has embraced the role.
How else can one explain the fact that, thanks to the GOP refusing to allow an extension, Congress is just days away from letting supplemental unemployment benefits expire for 1.3 million Americans? And that’s just for starters. According to the White House Council on Economic Advisers, an additional 3.6 million people will lose their benefits by the end of 2014. These families should not, in other words, splurge on a Christmas feast of Who-pudding and rare Who-roast beast.
Jamelle Bouie at The Daily Beast was on the same page only he saw Scrooge instead of the Grinch with “the GOP Decides to Play Scrooge as Millions Lose Benefits: Republicans are all that stands between security and crisis for the millions of Americans who are set to lose emergency unemployment benefits”:
Even after you get a job, the harm from long-term unemployment can last for years. Indeed, the idea that this is something people enjoy—that anyone wants to stay idle—is ludicrous. “If you look at the long-term unemployed, a good chunk of them have children. A good chunk are married. A good chunk are college-educated or have had some college and in their prime earning years,” writes Michael Strain of the conservative American Enterprise Institute, “It strikes me as implausible that this person is engaged in a half-hearted job search.” People want to work, the problem is that—with three seekers for every position—there aren’t enough jobs to go around.
Mr. Bouie felt compelled to explain math to the Scrooges in the GOP, as in: There are 3X number of people but only X number of jobs. Forget math! The Republicans believe in the Magic Fairy over math and science. The Magic Fairy creates jobs for the worthy. The Magic Fairy makes sure everything is fair and no one who is worthy is ever unlucky.
This is the mentality of actual Senators running this country — they still believe that lucky is indicative of character, which implies justice is inherent in their good fortune and therefore other people’s bad fortune is their fault. This is a very small-minded, immature set of beliefs caused by an over-inflated sense of self combined with smug privilege that seeks to place causality where there is none.
Sure, hard work is often behind success, but as an example, hard work is not evident among the very privileged Republicans in the House of Representatives, and yet they still have great jobs with healthcare. Therefore, there is something else at play besides hard work.
And all of the grown ups can see this truism and have had to accept tough facts of life like unintended pregnancy caused by rape and desperately needing a job and still not getting one. You see, contrary to the beliefs of little boys like Senator Paul, we don’t always get what we want or need. And that is the very frightening reality that most of America has to deal with at some point, while the children of the GOP play Scrooge out of willful blindness and epic selfishness.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.