Those Goddamned Dirty Hippies
With their brand completely trashed, the Republicans have finally found their platform for the 2008 elections: the GOP is the party that doesn't spend $1 million dollars on cultural museums! "The Republicans: Proudly Defending Your Kids From Social Studies..."
When Republican U.S. Senate candidate Anne Evans Estabrook wanted to make a point about wasteful government spending, she reached for an example that has popped up in several other races: a museum in Woodstock, N.Y.
Estabrook is running a primary campaign aimed at convincing Republican voters she is the best person to beat the incumbent, Frank Lautenberg (D., N.J.).
This month, she asked: "Who would spend $70 million dollars for peanut storage, $20 million for cricket eradication, and voted to use our tax dollars on a hippie museum in Woodstock? This Congress and Frank Lautenberg just did."
Lautenberg did vote to give $1 million to the Museum at Bethel Woods, N.Y., the location of the August 1969 Woodstock Music Festival and Art Fair, as well as cricket eradication. A Lautenberg staffer noted the cricket bill also included aid to New Jersey farmers and the Women, Infants and Children food program. He did not vote on peanut storage; it died before it got to the Senate.
A million dollars out of a trillion-dollar budget. This is all they've got. Seriously.
Let's take a look at an amount roughly 5,000 times that much that appears to have been completely wasted.
After the United States has spent more than $5 billion in a largely failed effort to bolster the Pakistani military effort against Al Qaeda and the Taliban, some American officials now acknowledge that there were too few controls over the money. The strategy to improve the Pakistani military, they said, needs to be completely revamped.
In interviews in Islamabad and Washington, Bush administration and military officials said they believed that much of the American money was not making its way to frontline Pakistani units. Money has been diverted to help finance weapons systems designed to counter India, not Al Qaeda or the Taliban, the officials said, adding that the United States has paid tens of millions of dollars in inflated Pakistani reimbursement claims for fuel, ammunition and other costs [...]
Civilian opponents of President Pervez Musharraf say he used the reimbursements to prop up his government. One European diplomat in Islamabad said the United States should have been more cautious with its aid.
“I wonder if the Americans have not been taken for a ride,” said the diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The amount of funding for Pakistan since 2001 in military aid totals up to almost the entire amount of earmarks in the 2007 budget bill. And you can choose which is more pernicious.
But of course, this has nothing to do with federal spending or earmarks or anything; of course not, since the Woodstock museum actually never got the money. It has everything to do with demonizing those dirty hippies, and painting the Democrats as just the type who would build a monument to them. This is the same identity politics we've seen for the last 40 years.
In the summer of 1969, Estabrook was 25, married, and working in her family's commercial development business. Lautenberg was 45 and making his fortune as a cofounder of Automatic Data Processing Inc., the payroll company. Republican Assemblyman Joseph Pennacchio was 14 and "working my butt off" in a Brooklyn pizza parlor for $1 an hour, he said.
"Going to Woodstock or being a flower child wasn't on my radar," Estabrook said.
"Republicans: killing the hippies dead for once and for all!"
I know this may work for the baby boomers in the media who think America is still obsessed by these battles. But about 35-40% of the country weren't alive for Woodstock. It's just not a part of their world. And yes, young people do vote. Mostly I think that the only ones still concerned about Woodstock are those buttoned-up Republicans who are angry that they missed out on all the fun. I guess that's why they're so into free love these days.