"The president knows that Republicans support extending unemployment insurance..."
House Republican Leader John Boehner
Dear Unemployed Person or Persons:
These are tough times for Americans. They're especially tough times for people like you who have lost your jobs, and who still can't find new ones, because of the Obama Recession, which started at approximately 12 noon on January 20, 2009, after eight years of nonstop growth and prosperity under President George W. Bush.
We sympathize with your situation, and we know how hard it must be to be without a job as the bills pile up. (Technically, we don't really know how hard it must be, because we all have jobs -- with lots of great benefits, too -- but we can certainly imagine how hard it must be. We'd hate to be in your shoes right now.)
Anyway, we sympathize with what you and your loved ones must be going through -- although why unemployed people still deserve to have loved ones when they're not doing a single thing to help them is a total mystery to us.
We're writing to set the record straight after weeks of misinformation put out by the Obama administration and their friends in the liberal media. You may have heard that Republicans have been opposed to extending unemployment benefits for the millions of Americans whose benefits have already run out.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
The truth is: Republicans haven't been opposed to extending unemployment benefits. We've been opposed to letting the Senate vote on extending unemployment benefits -- that's a totally different thing.
You may also have heard that some of us have had some unflattering things to say about unemployment benefits in general, and about how receiving unemployment benefits is a whole lot easier than looking for work, and only encourages people to stay unemployed.
We weren't talking about you. You're almost certainly not the kind of person who'd sit on his duff for week after week and take advantage of the generosity of hardworking, taxpaying, real Americans.
You know the kind of person we mean.
The other thing you might have heard about us is that we're "hypocrites," because now we oppose extending unemployment benefits, when we used to be in favor of them when George Bush was president.
Or maybe you've heard us called even bigger "hypocrites" because we insisted that any extended unemployment benefits be paid for, rather than adding to the deficit -- even though we aren't insisting that extended tax cuts for wealthy Americans be paid for, and even though those particular tax cuts add much more to the deficit than unemployment benefits would.
We have a very simple answer to these charges: Where's Obama's birth certificate?
Besides, those are just numbers -- we have the facts on our side. And the No. 1 fact is this: Everyone knows that Republicans stand for fiscal discipline and responsible budgeting. In fact, whenever fiscal discipline has broken down and the budget has gotten out of control, Republicans are the first ones to say who's responsible. (Hint: Not us.)
Mitch McConnell, our Republican Senate Leader, put it exactly right the other day when he talked about the dangers of excessive government spending to help people who can't even hold a job. "At what point," he asked, "do we pivot and start being concerned about our children and our grandchildren?"
To Republicans, the answer is perfectly clear: We pivot when there's a Democrat in the White House.
Rick Horowitz is a syndicated columnist. You can write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.