I am aghast. Barack Obama announces a big federally funded program to help the po' folks around the country and on any other day, in this political climate, Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell would be railing against runaway spending, "great society" programs and creating greater dependence on government.
But, because a chunk of the money is coming to Eastern Kentucky they stand up and cheer, along side the president, in the White House. It's not that I have any personal position on the program it's just that my exposure to politics over such a long time has once again confirmed my belief that little of what politicians say they stand against they wouldn't lie down for at the right price. (Yes, that association was intentional)
So what did the Obama cash for Kentucky do in the media? Re-awakened LBJ's photo op on the front porch of Tom Fletcher's cabin in Martin County and start the discussion of how poor and impoverished the people of Kentucky are. Just take a look at some of the words written in response to this newly announced program published in the National Review:
"There are lots of diversions in the Big White Ghetto, the vast moribund matrix of Wonder Bread–hued Appalachian towns and villages stretching from northern Mississippi to southern New York, a slowly dissipating nebula of poverty and misery with its heart in eastern Kentucky, the last redoubt of the Scots-Irish working class that picked up where African slave labor left off, mining and cropping and sawing the raw materials for a modern American economy that would soon run out of profitable uses for the class of people who 500 years ago would have been known, without any derogation, as peasants. Thinking about the future here and its bleak prospects is not much fun at all, so instead of too much black-minded introspection you have the pills and the dope, the morning beers, the endless scratch-off lotto cards, healing meetings up on the hill, the federally funded ritual of trading cases of food-stamp Pepsi for packs of Kentucky’s Best cigarettes and good old hard currency, tall piles of gas-station nachos, the occasional blast of meth, Narcotics Anonymous meetings, petty crime, the draw, the recreational making and surgical unmaking of teenaged mothers, and death: Life expectancies are short — the typical man here dies well over a decade earlier than does a man in Fairfax County, Va. — and they are getting shorter, women’s life expectancy having declined by nearly 1.1 percent from 1987 to 2007.
If the people here weren’t 98.5 percent white, we’d call it a reservation."
We finally achieved some serious clout in Washington DC with the power of Mitch McConnell. We finally proved that we are capable of thinking outside the box with the ascendancy of Rand Paul and his brand of "new think". And we finally captured back to back basketball championships in the NCAA and look what Barack Obama has done with the stroke of a pen.
It's back to possum holler.
Oh, and for you Republicans who can still think, don't let this one slip past you. There is a US Senate race in Kentucky this year and the lady challenging the republican just might need some more votes out of the mountains than the hands of the republican power brokers in that part of the Commonwealth would ever deliver to her.
Think, think, think. Her buddy Barack just opened the door for her there.