Mrs. Rodgers’ Neighborhood

By MIKE APPLETON

When Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers gave the more or less “official” Republican response to the President’s State of the Union address last night, I was expecting her to present a sort of Republican policy talk for mature adults, something that would provide a striking contrast to not only the President’s speech, but to the Tea Party trio who followed her. Instead, I heard an ode to farm life and agrarian values, woven into another I-did-it-and-you-can-too sermon with a higher sugar content than her family’s apple orchards.

Rep. Rodgers was undoubtedly selected by the leadership to demonstrate that smart women can be Republican leaders.  And she is in fact a talented and accomplished person, but one would never know that based on her remarks. She identified all of the talking points, of course, mentioning job growth and affordable health care, and adding the mandatory reference to tax reduction. But she did not describe a single policy proposal to increase jobs, outlined no ideas on what Republicans would do about health care if they ever manage to repeal the Affordable Care Act and was completely silent on the issue of immigration reform.

When Rep. Rodgers reminded us that the Republican Party is the party of compassion, I waited patiently for her explanation of how we have seen that compassion manifested in her party’s approach to long-term unemployment benefits, the minimum wage, equal pay for women, SNAP funding and the protection of women’s reproduction rights. Perhaps she realized that compassion would be too hard a sell on a day that she and her House colleagues had been busy passing, you guessed it, more anti-abortion legislation, this time a bill to nowhere intended to eliminate abortion coverage from most health insurance policies.

One doesn’t expect a great deal of substance in the type of address that Rep. Rodgers was called upon to present. But when that address resembles nothing so much as a saccharine inaugural speech by someone just elected president of her Junior League chapter, one question begs for an answer. Why did she bother?

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37 Responses to Mrs. Rodgers’ Neighborhood

  1. Anonymously Yours says:

    If you say it long enough it must be true….. The trickle down works….. The reason people don’t have employment is because they don’t want to work….. If you believe that…. I’ve a story about weapons of mass destruction I want to sell you…..

  2. Anonymously Yours says:

    Follow

  3. Blouise says:

    Rodgers is a Boehner favorite and has been seen for the last year or so standing next to him. She has also served 5 terms in the House. She is now being cast by the Republicans as a possible VP candidate in 2016 … guess why.

    She is their latest attempt to try and get back some of those women votes they’ve lost and her approach was typical for Republicans who are trying so desperately to get out from under the War on Women mantra they’ve created for themselves. They figure women are reassured by generalized bromides and soft touches on the issues because we have so much trouble controlling our libidos that actual stimulating responses are just too, well … stimulating. This was her introduction to the American electorate … she’s the “smart” Sarah Palin.

    Here’s another response that night given by Republican Michael Grimm to a reporter commenting on his unwillingness to comment:

    Rep. Michael Grimm (R-Staten Island) was being interviewed by NY1 reporter Michael Scotto after President Obama’s State of the Union address. He asked Grimm about a Justice Department investigation into his campaign finances.

    “Let me be clear to you, you ever do that to me again I’ll throw you off this f—–g balcony,”</b? Grimm said, according to the cable news channel.

    “Why, why, I just wanted to ask you?” Scotto responded.

    When Scotto replied, “why, why it’s a valid question,” Grimm said: “No, no, you’re not man enough, you’re not man enough. I’ll break you in half. Like a boy,” according to the NY1 transcript.

    Grimm previously worked as an undercover FBI agent.

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/new-york-rep-michael-grimm-threatens-reporter-asked-fundraising-allegations-article-1.1594857

  4. Tony C. says:

    The Republican Party is the party of compassion, and inclusion, and empathy, for anybody that can contribute $50K or more to a PAC. Anybody! It is the big tent party, in the sense that everybody they care about can literally fit in one big Ringling Brothers tent.

  5. bigfatmike says:

    Anonymously Yours ” The reason people don’t have employment is because they don’t want to work”

    I was fixing a late dinner, so I missed many of Obama’s points. But he seemed to link education and job training as a solution for unemployment.

    I am all for education. And I do believe that education is necessary to help meet long term employment goals.

    But education and job training will do little or nothing to solve today’s unemployment and underemployment numbers.

    There is little to suggest that today’s economy requires skills different from around 2007 when skills of workers led to near full employment.

    We have strong evidence from BLS that there are roughly three job candidates for every job. Job training may lead to an individual landing a job. But that will just mean that another person will not get that job. Under today’s conditions job training will do little to put people back to work because the problem is not enough jobs.

    If there were a significant mismatch of job skills of workers and job skills required for jobs then we ought to see business bid up wages to hire workers with the right skills. That is not happening. BLS collects wage data over many job categories. There is essentially no upward pressure on wages. There is essentially nothing in wage data to suggest a mismatch of skills for the jobs available.

    Certainly we need to support education and job training. But that alone will not put people back to work.

  6. bigfatmike says:

    @Anonymously Yours

    My previous post clumsily seems to suggest that you are claiming that people do not want to work. That is not true. As I understand your remarks, you are interpreting the position of some on the right.

  7. Elaine M. says:

    Blouise,

    “She is now being cast by the Republicans as a possible VP candidate in 2016 … guess why. ”

    If so, it would follow that she has an inactive libido and no need for birth control pills.

    😉

  8. Mike Appleton says:

    Blouise and Elaine:

    Frankly, I’ve always had a preference for Democratic women. But now, too late, I secretly mourn all of the opportunities lost through my ignorance of their libidinous natures.

  9. Anonymously Yours says:

    BFM,

    I was trying to make a funny….. I’ve lived in the rust belt and know that when a factory shutters that there is more than just a singular affect on that one business…… It ripples….

  10. Anonymously Yours says:

    Mike,

    Sometimes too late we learn the errors of our ways….. But better that learning later about the errors of our past ways…..

  11. Elaine M. says:

    Mike,

    The Republican Clown Car
    By Charles P. Pierce
    January 29, 2014
    http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/republican-responses-to-state-of-the-union-012914

    Excerpt:
    And then there was Cathy McMorris Rogers, who was not nutty, but who, I believe, was attempting to sell me a dinette set. Also, can I just say to the nice furniture lady that I’m happy that she and her retired Naval commander husband both had that sweet government health-care so that their newborn son’s pre-existing condition wasn’t the kind of hardship it is for parents who are only now, through the Affordable Care Act, able to stave off financial disaster in similar circumstances.

  12. Byron says:

    AY:

    “I was trying to make a funny….. I’ve lived in the rust belt and know that when a factory shutters that there is more than just a singular affect on that one business…… It ripples….”

    So economic expansion [as you might call it “Trickle Down”] actually does help the working class?

    • bigfatmike says:

      @Byron “So economic expansion [as you might call it “Trickle Down”] actually does help the working class?”

      Whether economic expansion helps the working class depends on the return to capital – that is which group gains the benefit of the expansion. Since the 1970’s capital has been reaping much of the benefit of growth in GDP. That is why middle class wages have been stagnant since the 19790’s and why wages in the lower quartile have actually declined.

      Since the financial disaster of 2007 it is almost as though we are running two economies in parallel. The top 1% or so have captured most to the recovery since 2009. The top 1% or so are doing fine. The middle class and lower class are still in a state of recession. The unemployment numbers are deceptive here. Some believe that with unemployment below 7% things must be picking up and getting better. That is not true. When we count underemployment, unwanted part time work, and those who have left the labor force because they have essentially zero chance of being hired under present circumstances, the economy is near disaster for those in the lower 50-60%.

      The truth of the employment/unemployment numbers are supported by studies that demonstrate the majority of Americans will spend at least a year of their lives in economic distress – from Mark Rank writing in the NYT

      “nearly 40 percent of Americans between the ages of 25 and 60 will experience at least one year below the official poverty line during that period ($23,492 for a family of four), and 54 percent will spend a year in poverty or near poverty (below 150 percent of the poverty line)…Even more astounding, if we add in related conditions like welfare use, near-poverty and unemployment, four out of five Americans will encounter one or more of these events.”

      Even Reagan understood that when the economic pie gets bigger, everyone should get a bigger slice. That is an important point that seems to be lost on today’s free market plutocrats.

      The simple fact is that there is no trickle down when the top few percent capture nearly all the benefits of growth in GDP.

  13. Anonymously Yours says:

    If they actually reinvest the money….. Yes…. But to ship it to Ireland because they pass laws that make it exempt from income doesn’t really help here….. But then again Ireland has its own financial issues today because of the change of tax laws…..

  14. Blouise says:

    Mike A.,

    We Democratic women appreciate talent especially if coupled with, ahem, experience. 😉 It’s never too late.

  15. Elaine M. says:

    Blouise,

    🙂

    Those young gents are certainly ap-peal-ing.

  16. Blind Faithiness says:

    Nailed it, Mike A.

    Although, regarding immigration reform she did say “Yes, it’s time we honor our history of legal immigration,” and that they are working on a “step-by-step solution to immigration reform” that will “secure America’s border’s” and “[make] sure we attract the best, brightest, hardest workers from around the world.” Plus, she had a huge smile when she read that part of the script, so I’m convinced!

    Sounds like the GOP has come up with an amazing solution and they are being kind enough to not hurt our fragile minds by burdening us with pesky details of this truly epic reformation. That is just one more reason why we should all be convinced that this is our nation’s greatest Congress ever. We have been blessed with the good sense to choose leadership that has the will to take the hard road of ignoring the problem and maintaining the status quo, no matter how unsustainable that road may be. That takes real guts, folks.

  17. Byron says:

    BFM/AY:

    definitely a problem in this country. the middle (125k to 36k in my opinion) and low income (35k or less) certainly dont have the same access to good investments unless they are financially savy. We really need financial literacy in this country. People are only taught how to work for the man and not for themselves. The show shark tank is what should be happening all over the country, teach people how to succeed and make money doing soemthing that actually benefits individuals.

    It must be a good feeling to help someone make such a positive change in their life.

    In a way the down turn has been good as people are starting businesses out of necessity and depending on themselves rather than a boss or company. It is rather empowering to rely on yourself for your daily bread and not on a paycheck.

  18. RTC says:

    I figured Rodgers drew the short straw since there is no benefit and all risk for a legitimate 2016 hopeful like Rubio to deliver the Republican response this year when there’s nothing to contend for. Just play it safe, keep it bland, and rely on corporate contributions to buy the requisite seats in Congress this fall.

    I must say that whenever I hear Republicans talk about being the party of compassion, I’m reminded of that Monty Python skit with the dead parrot.

    • bigfatmike says:

      @RTC “I must say that whenever I hear Republicans talk about being the party of compassion, I’m reminded of that Monty Python skit with the dead parrot.”

      Whenever I hear Republicans talk about being the party of ideas I’m reminded of a stopped clock.

      If you are a Republican all you know and all you need to know is ‘lower taxes’. What ever ails you or the country, whatever the economic circumstance, whatever the problem is or will be, just remember ‘lower taxes’ and its corollary ‘lower government spending’.

      If you are a Republican ‘lower taxes’ passes for deep insight and subtle analysis.

  19. RTC says:

    “In a way the down turn has been good as people are starting businesses out of necessity and depending on themselves rather than a boss or company. It is rather empowering to rely on yourself for your daily bread and not on a paycheck”.
    ——————————-
    Byron, are you sure your name ain’t David? You’re must be one of these fuckin assholes who thinks that calamities like the Dust Bowl or the Great Depression are good because they build character, or that every generation should have a war to fight because winning is so good for morale.

    Not everyone wants to be tested by hard times; times have always been hard enough. And not everyone is suited to achieve entrepreneurial glory like you have no doubt.

    Capitalist pig? More like piece of pig shit.

    Testing, testing. 1,2,3….

  20. Byron says:

    RTC:

    You must be a very angry, bitter man. I hope calling me names gives you some comfort and I hope you are not a young man. I can see an older man being angry and bitter over what has happened in his life but not a young man. That would be a tradgedy if you were young and angry.

    If you are young and angry, I feel sorry for you, life is not going to work out well for you unless you learn to accept yourself. And if you are old and still angry, I feel sorry for your wasted life. You must have never learned that life is what you make it and only gives you what you put into it.

    Wasted human talent is such a pity to see.

  21. Juris says:

    I watched Rodgers’ Republican response and she sounded so fake. At least when the President and other spews bullshit at the SOTU he seems genuine.

  22. RTC says:

    Byron: “Wasted human talent is such a pity to see.”

    Avoid mirrors.

    I’m neither very old nor am I that young, and it’s far from bitter that I am. I have to confess I had an ulterior motive in wanting to check the settings on the language filter. But yes, it does make me angry when someone suggests that the crashing of the economy was good for anyone but the banksters.

    I’ve heard these palliatives before: “The Great Depression made us appreciate what we had”; “We became men in the war”; “We had to learn to be self-reliant when our car became stranded in the wilderness.” There was a guy on another blog who claimed he had to survive on a bag each of beans and rice a month for several years and he insisted anyone could do it; I believe he thought everyone would benefit from an experience like that. He also maintained that he would never want to be rescued if he became stranded. I offered to send him travel brochures. He never took me up on it.

    At any rate, my point is that if you’re best option to earn a living after suddenly losing your job is to start a business, it’s technically not called “chasing your dream”, it’s grasping at straws and it’s called desperation.
    I know this’ll be hard, but just think for a minute about what it is you’re saying. Starting a business costs money; insurance, attorney’s fees, rent, advertising, and so forth. Few people expected to lose their jobs, and few people had cash reserves on hand to cover living expenses, let alone start a business.

    So what do they do? take out a loan, maybe a second mortgage, and rent a kiosk at the local mall or buy a magnet sign. Guess what, 90% of all small businesses go under within the first year – in the best of times, so now they’re deeper in debt to the very “industry” that caused the economic collapse that put them out of work in the first place. Incidentally, you should call it the “Economic Collapse” when you’re telling future generations of piglets about how “empowering” these times were. “Downturn” doesn’t sound foreboding enough.

    Also, suggesting that starting a business venture in the midst of a severe recession is about as inane as it gets because – get this, read closely – it’s because nobody has any money to spend. See that. It’s so subtle that it probably never occurred to you, but it’s why restaurants went out of business at such an alarming rate. I suppose if you’re developing your economic theories by watching “Shark Tank” it’s understandable. Isn’t that on Fox, right after “America’s Got Talent”?

    BTW, Porky. You don’t happen to live in Florida by any chance, do you?

  23. pdm says:

    I hope her story of “Bette” and the ACA blows up. It’s just another bullshit lie.

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/01/30/1273347/-Where-is-Cathy-McMorris-Rodgers-ObamaCare-victim-Bette-in-Spokane-UPDATE-X3-Bette-SPEAKS

    I’ve been told the LATimes has a story on it and so does Krugman.

  24. Gene H. says:

    RTC,

    I’m a firm believer in the Carlin School concerning words. “There are no bad words. Bad thoughts. Bad intentions, and wooooords.” Unlike some sites, FFS won’t use the filters to censor language. However, if you get verbally beat to a pulp by others as a consequence of your word choice, that is simply one of the many consequences of free speech. The Ethic of Reciprocity is specifically mentioned in the rules. However bad intentions, like a threat of violence for example, will run afoul of this blog’s policy long before saying “fuck” or “I think only a douche bag would endorse such an idea and here’s why . . . .”.

    Enjoy your freedom.

  25. Daily Kos user ‘databob’ has been on the case since right after the speech. Through some slick internet sleuthing, he found the mysterious Bette. Not surprisingly, she seems to be as dense as a box of hammers and a liar to boot. Or as I sometimes like to say, “Creative with the truth.”
    Here is a link to the story. Read the whole thing and watch it unravel like a slow motion train wreck. Or, if you want to cut straight to the chase, scroll down to the UPDATE #3.
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/01/30/1273347/-Where-is-Cathy-McMorris-Rodgers-ObamaCare-victim-Bette-in-Spokane-UPDATE-X3-Bette-SPEAKS

  26. RTC says:

    Understood, Gene. I plan on keeping profane insults in check ( as warranted) and continue on with my medium-grade snark and sarcasm as time allows, but it’s good to know that freedom exists (anywhere). Good to be here and looking forward to conversing among grownups.

  27. Tony C. says:

    RTC says: Starting a business costs money; insurance, attorney’s fees, rent, advertising, and so forth. Few people expected to lose their jobs, and few people had cash reserves on hand to cover living expenses, let alone start a business.

    Although I understand your contention, this isn’t true. At 21 in college I started my first business with exactly zero investment, other than my time, my home phone making free local calls to local businesses, and a drive across town. I dialed for dollars, about 4.5 hours a day (three 90 minute windows with breaks), and on the third day was invited to visit somebody that became a client.

    My next-door neighbor is an independent accountant, a CPA. He lost his job at an insurance company that was downsizing. He just went looking for a job, and during an interview it occurred to him the job being described was so trivial he could do it in about 15 hours a week. He’s an honest guy, and he told the owner that. Then offered to do the job on a trial basis for half the offered salary as a contractor, and somewhat inadvertently started a business that, with a handful of employees, eventually quadrupled his previous income (and 25 years later is still going). All his contracts, etc came later. His first client paid his rent and bills, could be serviced on the weekend and maybe half a weekday, and left him 40 hours a week to find more clients. Which (with no sales training) he fumbled through and accomplished on his own.

    I have at least three more friends that started businesses with nothing, or nearly nothing. Starting a business does not always require a loan or a big investment; I started one successful business with exactly $3000, and sold over a million dollars ($1.2M) worth of product in the first three years. We cleared $6000 on our first advertisement alone, which I wrote and which cost us $1500.

    However, in defense of your proposition, the vast majority of people do not have “entrepreneurial sight,” being able to see what is missing from the market or understanding why people buy (and why they don’t). Even if they see such problems, they don’t see how they can solve them. It takes some experience. I have read the average successful entrepreneur starts with three or four failures; and I have had my share of failed ventures (well over half my attempts, frankly). It takes experience to not fuck it up, and I have fucked it up several times (but never the same way twice!)

    Starting a business is seldom the route; but it is a possible route if you have a personal skill, particularly one people might need temporarily or not full time.

    But even raw labor can suffice. At the age of 10, wandering a suburb on a Fall Sunday, I noticed some yards were raked, and some weren’t. I don’t remember what I was thinking, but I picked a yard with lots of leaves, and knocked on the door, and this was my spontaneous cold call pitch, no greeting at all:
    “If you guys have a rake, I will rake up your yard for three dollars.”
    (When my allowance was $2.50 a week).
    Follow up: “Will you bag it?” Me: “Yeah, if you got bags.”
    (In retrospect, I could have charged more for that…)
    I got the job on that first knock, I did two more yards that Sunday, and many more on subsequent Sundays. I was frikkin’ rich! I had $20 bills!

  28. Byron says:

    RTC:

    You dont need a lot of money to start a business. The reason most businesses fail is because the person doesnt understand business. Not for lack of funds. Many businesses start with little or no money.

    You can say what you want but the Shark Tank is helping people build their business and reducing the amount of time it takes to do it.

    On the last episode a woman was seeking money to increase her baby shoe business. She started by selling some scrap metal she had gathered from various construction sites and selling the metal to a junk yard for a couple of hundred bucks. She then took that money and bought some tanned cow hide and made some baby shoes which are novel and sold those. She then took the proceeds from that sale and bought more cow hide and did the same thing. By the time she got to Shark Tank she had a viable business and was looking to expand and she knew she couldnt do it by herself because she didnt have the knowledge.

    Maybe you should take a page from her book and get off the couch, put the bottle or joint down and go do something.

    A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.

  29. Byron says:

    tony c:

    exactly, I used to mow lawns in my neighborhood and do odd jobs while in college. One semester I made a booklet of around 200 addresses for oil drilling companies and the contacts, I did this from the rejection letters I had received. I put a $10 dollar add in the student newspaper and paid a guy $25 and a case of beer to type it up, I charged $15.00 for a bound copy which cost $1.50 at the time and sold about 30 of them.

  30. Byron says:

    pdm:

    interesting article.

  31. Blouise says:

    Regarding starting one’s own business, I agree with Tony and have several examples to offer of my own and others experiences in starting and maintaining small businesses. My one son-in-law’s experience in IT closely mirrors Tony’s CPA friend. The cost involved was minor including a fee charged by the state to incorporate and a relatively small fee he paid to an accountant for helping him set up his tax structure. Every single other thing he needed, contract forms, insurance forms, etc he found at the library where he copied and amended to suit his needs.

    His single worse on-going problem was health insurance but the ACA has completely solved that.

    The only real problem in running one’s own small business is that the freedom of not having to answer to a boss is slightly negated by the fact that one is the boss and anyone who has run their own business knows exactly what I mean. 😉

  32. pete says:

    Byron@ 9:23 a.m.

    collecting scrap metal at construction sites will get you arrested.

  33. Tony C. says:

    Byron: Maybe; or maybe it is now; it wasn’t always so. When I was a kid (in the 60’s) men building new homes in a sub-division (which I realize now were just workers, not people in charge) would let us kids pick through their scraps to find material for forts and spaceships and box cars. That would be insane in today’s litigation environment, we were climbing into dumpsters with broken boards, boards with nails, sharp metal bands and such. But the worst we got was splinters and banged fingers. You could score some good pieces from the scrap. Even the boards with nails, you could pull those and straighten them and reuse them.

  34. Byron says:

    pete:

    not if you ask for permission first.

  35. Byron says:

    Tony C:

    yep.

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