Beard: The American slang term originally referred to anyone who acted on behalf of another, in any transaction, to conceal a person’s true identity. (Wikipedia)
In this case, the beard is, as the title states, Vicky Hartzler, and the identity she’s trying to conceal is that of the political party responsible for the failure to pass a farm bill filled with much needed disaster assistance for drought-devastated farmers. Miss Vicky was chosen to give the weekly Republican address (video at The Turner Report). Since her family runs a big farm in Missouri, the GOPers were probably sure that she would be a natural choice to help them wipe the egg that was the farm bill fail off their collective faces. Here’s what Miss Vicky had to say about the hard time ahead for our farmers:
Like you, I was relieved earlier this month when the House passed a bipartisan measure helping farmers devastated by the ongoing drought. A lot was riding on this bill, but the Senate, a body controlled by the president’s party, left Washington for the month of August without even bringing it to a vote. The president has seen fit to politicize this issue, but the fact is he didn’t urge the Senate to act.
That is a true shame. Drought conditions continue to worsen, and the shaky state of the economy only amplifies our anxiety.
Well no, Vicky, your feelings about the House Farm Bill are demonstrably not at all like mine – or like most Americans who don’t grudge food to the hungry. Nor are your facts exactly correct.
The fact is the Senate acted. It passed a bill that House members refused to vote on because it gives too much in the way of food subsidies to poor Americans. The House, instead, attempted, in the last few hours of their session to pass a paltry stop-gap disaster-relief bill that many legislators, both Republican and Democratic, considered next to worthless, and jam it through the Senate without allowing for time to consider its provisions. The jokers that make up the House majority didn’t need to create this mess, but they have shown time after time that they will always put ideology above the welfare of Americans.
In this case, House leaders (John Boehner and GOP VP pick, Paul Ryan) were more than willing to bankrupt American farmers just to insure that people who are feeling the Bush recession the hardest don’t get any government-sponsored relief. Because, dontcha know, government doesn’t know how to do it; if government does know how to do it, we shouldn’t let it because that’s socialism and we’ll not be free anymore; the tiny fraction of our budget spent providing food aid to our poor will explode the deficit (although we love to explode it when it comes to unnecessary arms spending, unprovoked wars, oil subsidies and tax cuts for millionaires), and, finally, golly-gee, when it comes down to it, feeding our poor probably just isn’t in the Tea Party version of the constitution.
Believe it or not, there’re fools who buy this claptrap. And lots of them live in Missouri. At least some of them will be cheering Miss Vicky on. (For those who are, instead, embarrassed, and who live in her district, there’s an alternative – her name is Teresa Hensley, the Democratic Party candidate in the 4th Congressional District House race.)
Michael Tomasky wrote a piece last week abut why Republicans lie. The conclusion was pretty straightforward: they lie because the truth about their policies is so ugly. If they were to tell the truth about what their policies will do – and this pertains to the farm bill, jobs, and every other talking point Miss Vicky dredged up in her pedestrian effort to ring the various GOP-rigged Pavlovian bells – it would boil down to something like what Tomasky expresses in the following summary:
What we’re going to do here is make sure society’s very richest people have a lot more money. Our theory is they will spend it and that will help the whole economy. History hasn’t been kind to this idea, but it’s our theory and we’re sticking to it. These are the people who pay us to run, after all. Besides which, we really don’t like poor people; we think at bottom that it’s their fault they’re poor, so it doesn’t really matter to us whether anything trickles down to them.
As Tomasky adds: “That’s the truth. How would that sell?”