On the way to Little Odd's baseball practice tonight, I was able to catch a few minutes of NPR. My commute nowadays is measured in seconds, not minutes, so I have lost touch with NPR. I used to listen to Click & Clack, "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me", and public radio news with near-religious fervor. When I traded in two hour commutes, the loss of quality radio time was small price to pay
Lately my news comes from CNN and the Boston Globe (Boston.com), and while those source are informative, they are closer to junk food for the brain, served in small samples. Tonight I had a chance for a little brain salad, listening to a debate about US debt as it relates to GDP. I was relishing the chance to listen to a rational discourse from intellectuals regarding our economic future.
For awhile, I got what I hoped for. Detailed. Specific. Jargon-filled. Calm, thoughtful, well-presented. Deep. Slightly beyond me, a radio program that makes the listener stretch. It was good and good for me. And then it screeched to halt.
See, one of the guests went partisan. Up to that moment, I was unaware of party affiliation or political slant. Up to that very moment, the back-and-forth was the essence of thoughtful discourse and even exchange of ideas. And "BOOM!", it was as if I was listening to Fox News, news being just a word to put after Fox. What was the offending line?
The speaker, a Republican congressman, speaking about oft-dreamt of, rarely seen reduced spending in Washington, stated, "...My party isn't in control, but when they are, we will be able to seriously discuss reduced spending rather than increased taxes as way to balance debt loads as they related to GDP." Okay, I'm using quotes when I'm really just paraphrasing as best as I can recollect. But I'm close to getting what he said, so bear with me. Rant coming...
Who the HELL is he kidding? The Republicans had the White House and majority control of one or both houses of Congress for the better part of eight years, and just HOW did the Republicans control spending? Puh-lease. Cut taxes? For some. But reign in spending?!? If the Democrats now spend money like drunk sailors, the Republicans spent money like meth-addled lunatics throughout the decade. For the record, during the Clinton era, the Fed ran surpluses. Sure, things were trending down, so I don't blame the collapse of the market, the housing bubble burst, the sub-prime mortgage meltdown, and the whole fucking mess just on Bush. Alan Greeenspan missed a few things, now didn't he? But one thing is clear; nobody -- right, left, or unaffiliated -- has a record of reducing spending at this point.
What the HELL happened to my little radio Nirvana-moment? First, did Mr. Red-State forget that people who believe Republicans can control spending don't listen to NPR? Second, if you said NPR to someone who DOES believe Republicans are the party of fiscal restraint, they would scratch their heads and wonder what the "P" stands for in National Rifle Association. Third, did Mr. Oklahoma-Needs-a-Tea-Party-Militia actually think that the NPR audience, people who would sit still and hang on every word regarding currency policy with China, would miss his quip about the lamentable loss of fiscal sanity under the Republican controlled Congress? Dude... F.U.C.K. You and your weird Alice-in-Wonderland twist on the last ten years. The Distinguished Gentleman from Shang-ri La needs to stop smoking the pipe. And with no offense intended to morons, this guy went from Mr. Worth Listening To to "Oh, what-a-moron, I'm changing the channel to ESPN radio" in a split second.
So to sum up, NPR can't even host a sane, boring, fact-based discourse on US debt policy without some fool throwing out some blatant partisan, pop-culture crap. Yeah, NPR is a liberal haven, but at least it used to be clever liberalism. Tonight, even behind the sometimes-deep discussion, the us-versus-them thing showed up. Maybe I will run for Congress, on a platform of solving our debt problems by growing money trees. What's worse, I'm gonna' win.