Last night in the Virginia State Senate, we saw the extent to which the Republican Party has descended into absurdity, as a routine debate over how to allocate $4.3 billion in American Rescue Plan Act funds had Republicans yelling “Marxism!” “Communism!” and other assorted idiocies. See below for the video, which went as follows:
- Senate Finance Committee Chair Janet Howell (D) pointed out to Republicans that if they vote against the budget, they’re voting against broadband, school infrastructure improvements, funding for mental health, public safety improvements, unemployment assistance and safe water, “just to mention a few.” Sen. Howell added, “as I’ve bent over backwards to work with members of your part, I’m not surprised that you’ve come to this conclusion, because let’s face it, at the federal level, the Republicans all voted against this money anyway.”
- Sen. Bill Stanley (R) then got all (faux?) indignant, protesting that he’s absolutely NOT against funding for broadband expansion or school infrastructure, etc. Stanley claimed, absurdly, that this is about “throwing money around,” like giving a dollar to a homeless person.
- Far-right extremist/insurrectionist Sen. Amanda Chase (R) then ranted and raved about “Marxism,” “Communism,” how “our governor is not the king,” about the supposed need for a “full forensic audit” of the 2020 election and how she will be traveling to South Dakota next week to get “proof” (suuuuure).
- Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw (D) responded: “What I just heard would have probably sounded a little better if you’d both would have started off by saying ‘once upon a time,’ because I’ve never heard such fairy tales in my life.” Sen. Saslaw added, “If you really believe in what you said…and you have an ounce of intellectual honesty in you, you will get on the phone and call the governor and tell him, ‘we don’t want a dime of your Communist money spent on broadband, public schools, or anything else in my district from this bill’…You and I both know you’re not going to do that, because this is for sheer theatrics…I really don’t appreciate being called a Communist…Like I said, if there’s an ounce of intellectual honesty, those of you who do this ought to get on the phone and call the governor and tell him, ‘we don’t want a dime of your Marxist money spent in our district.’ And everybody knows in here you’re not going to do that. And that’s what’s called intellectual dishonesty. I’ve been here 46 years, I’ve never heard such nonsense in my life.”
Great job by Senators Howell and Saslaw, by the way, responding to this insufferable idiocy by Republicans. At some point, Democrats really do need to push back, and in this case, they did so – strongly.