Saturday, October 06, 2012

Standing Up for Big Bird

 If Mitt Romeney was trying to soften his image as a self proclaimed "severely conservative" politician, I'm not sure his first debate performance really helped him.

Forget about an economic recovery plan that centers on a commitment to Grover Norquist's bizzare pledge to never raise taxes (ever) and slashing government spending programs that benefit the vast majority of Americans while providing even more tax relief for top earners. Forget the 47% gaffe. 

When GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney leaned across his podium during last Wednesday night's debate in Denver and condescendingly assured narrator Jim Leherer that he "loved Big Bird" but would eliminate Federal subsidies for PBS, he crossed a point of no return. Yesterday NY Times columinst Charles M. Blow eleoquently stated what I consider to be a well-versed summary of the majority thinking on the incalcuable intellectual value of PBS.

If a person is running for the highest office in the land who would presume to lead on behalf of all Americans, unquestionably he or she must understand the importance of PBS programming to the educational and cultural enrichment of the nation. Period. (Seriously Mitt, Ken Burn's 'The Civil War?' American Experience? Sesame Street? Word Girl? Really??)

If they don't get that, they're so detached from common-sense Main Street sensibility they simply have no business in the White House. In this age of bloated defense spending, excessive tax subsidies for petroluem behemoths like Exxon-Mobil (which posted 1st quarter profits of $9.45 billion) and trillion dollar bailouts for big banks and insurance companies who greedily gambled on complex-but-crappy financial products, we can afford PBS.

When you consider that the rich variety of PBS educational and entertainment programming costs each tax payer about $1.35 per year, suggesting Big Bird is to blame for the massive US deficit borders on the most absurd kind of delusion at best; and blatant partisan disconnect at worst. Poor Flipper just doesn't understand that PBS refelects what is best about this nation, it's people and our collective values.  

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