I remember that day in November, that day when the Republican party was handed their head on a platter by the voting public. Now, a lot of people would have taken that as a lesson, perhaps realizing that something is wrong if so many people voted against them. I guess the Republican party leaders are not in that group of people. Bobby Jindal gave the Republican "rebuttal" to the President's speech yesterday. Yes, that Bobby Jindal: amateur exorcist, creationist, doomer-of-Louisiana. He is obviously making a run for 2012, though how well advised that is might be up for vote. Perhaps literally. Anyway, last night, in an attempt to make a sound bite, he bit himself instead with this line about the stimulus package: Here's the transcript of what he said (emphasis mine):
While some of the projects in the bill make sense, their legislation is larded with wasteful spending. It includes $300 million to buy new cars for the government, $8 billion for high-speed rail projects, such as a magnetic levitation line from Las Vegas to Disneyland, and $140 million for something called volcano monitoring. Instead of monitoring volcanoes, what Congress should be monitoring is the eruption of spending in Washington, D.C..
Are you freaking kidding me? Are these guys still trying to score points by being blatantly antiscience? I bet there are a few million folks in Seattle, Oregon, northern California, Alaska, and, y'know, Hawaii that think volcano monitoring is a fine and dandy idea. Not to mention Yellowstone, potentially the scariest place on the planet. What the heck is it with these guys? I don't mean Republicans in general, I mean the ones running the party. Do they not get what's really important, and what's just rhetorical partisan garbage? I hope that this line by Jindal becomes his fruit fly, his planetarium-as-overhead-projector. Because when people in charge say things so mind-numbingly dumb, it is our duty to make sure everyone knows it. Louisiana, I'm sorry your governor is such an antiscience ignorant blowhard. But please don't try to foist him on the rest of the country in three years.
[Update (12:15 Mountain time): A lot of commenters are asking why this sort of funding is in the stimulus bill in the first place,and call it pork. They're missing the point: the point of the stimulus bill is to stimulate the economy, both in the short and the long term. Funding science does exactly that; it helps pay for scientists, experiments, equipment, and more. I have written about this before. Funding science pays off multiply in the long term; it always has.]
Tip o' the blinders to Splendid Elles, who has great comments on Jindal's nonsense.