Thursday, December 27, 2012

Left Side of the Aisle #88 - Part 2

Clown Award: Steve Lonegan of AFP

The Clown Award, given weekly for acts of meritorious stupidity.

There is a bill now before the House and Senate to provide $60 billion in aid for the Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts, to go mostly to efforts in Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey. The price tag of the damage Sandy did continues to rise.

The bill has been criticized for several reasons, not all of them without good cause. But since a majority in Congress, including a good number of GOPpers, agrees that the victims are in need of some kind of federal aid, the critiques and criticisms are the kinds of things you would expect to be ironed out in the course of debate and negotiation.

However, Americans for Prosperity, a right-wing outfit chaired by multi-billionaire David Koch, doesn't see it that way. Which brings to our clown, our dishonoree of the week: It's the New Jersey State Director of Americans for Prosperity, a surly fellow Steve Lonegan. He has demanded the entire bill be voted down, even saying it would be regarded as a “key vote” on AFP's Congressional scorecard - meaning senators who support sending money for reconstruction could face an avalanche of attack ads in their next election campaign.

In "explaining" why the bill should be rejected, Lonegan said bad things "happen every day. Having your shore house flood doesn’t rank. We need to suck it up and be responsible for taking care of ourselves." What's more, taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for a millionaire’s vacation home.

For someone who has supposedly lived in New Jersey all his life, Lonegan knows remarkably little about the state. Places like Toms River, Brick, Highlands, Sea Bright, Union Beach - these are not enclaves of millionaires, these are middle class and working class towns. Remember, this is where I grew up, where I still have family and friends. When I see pictures of the devastation along the Jersey shore, I see streets I have driven, rides I have been on, boardwalks where I had frozen custards and played miniature golf. I know these places in a way it is obvious Steve Lonegan does not.

Shore towns have been devastated. Families whose homes have been destroyed remain uncertain about where they will live even as the Federal Emergency Management Agency pays out hundreds of millions of dollars in aid and continues to try to find temporary housing for those in need of it. As many as 25,000 households throughout New Jersey have needed and continue to need assistance. Businesses have been destroyed, lives upturned - and some of them lost.

But Steve Lonegan just doesn't care. He doesn't care because he won't get any benefit, so he doesn't see why anyone else should. Need doesn't matter. In fact, helping victims of a natural disaster is, according to him, "unfair" to everyone else who was not a victim, whose lives were not destroyed.

Lonegan says he expects to get criticized. Well, you got that part right, fool.

But what really nailed down his nomination was this: Why should the bill be voted down? Because, he said, "Everyone is screaming about debt." No, dumbass, they're not. The people are still saying "It's the economy, stupid." Those "screaming" about the debt are you and the rest of your big red nosed cohorts at AFP - which shouldn't stand for Americans for Prosperity but for Associated Fatcats and Plutocrats.

Steve Lonegan -  you really really are a clown.


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