Betty McCollum guards Sesame Street and Republicans go Gonzo

Big Bird: Not worthy of your tax dollars?
Big Bird: Not worthy of your tax dollars?

Rep. Betty McCollum and some other House members stood on the Capitol steps with Elmo and Big Bird yesterday, deriding Republicans for trying to defund the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's $451 million operating budget.

PBS is an oasis in the vast wasteland of commercial television, and "Tea Party Republicans want to completely wipe out this critical resource and weaken our communities," she said.

Republicans went Gonzo.

"It would take Count Von Count more than 42 years to count the 451 million, one 'Ah!Ah!Ah!' dollar at a time," howled South Carolina Rep. Jim DeMint later, channeling his inner Muppet. "When taxpayer funding for public broadcasting ends, rest assured, Cookie Monster will still be fed."

Big Oil would turn a profit without its tax breaks too, but DeMint didn't mention that.

Your tax dollars at work.
Your tax dollars at work.
US Army

Which brings us to NASCAR. Why, McCollum asked the other day, is the U.S. Army wasting $7 million sponsoring the spectacularly successful private enterprise?

"Taxpayer-funded NASCAR race cars are an absurdity at a time when the Republican-Tea Party is cutting federal support for homeless veterans, law enforcement officers and firefighters," the St. Paul Democrat said, while offering a budget amendment that would defund the Army's NASCAR sponsorship.

For that, she was the target of a vile, anonymous fax. And her budget amendment was shot down.

"Yo, Slut Betty," the fax reads. "Death To All Marxists, Foreign And Domestic!"

All budget cuts are not created equal.

Related: Betty McCollum wants to defund Pentagon NASCAR sponsorship

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