Is there pee in the milk? Of course there’s pee in the milk. There’s always pee in the milk.
Politicians like to tell folksy tales. For Rep. Mike Moyle (R-Star), his latest “Aww shucks” story came during the special legislative session. Its cast of characters included a bucket of milk, a dog and a heavy dosing of anti-government paranoia.
When he was finished, we were left with a perfect metaphor of the right’s political philosophy. A philosophy that goes like this: There’s pee in the milk!
It happened when Majority Leader Moyle took to the floor and explained why he was siding with dead-beat parents by voting against a bill that provided funding for Idaho’s child support enforcement system.
He said the bill reminded him why his father doesn’t drink milk. Moyle said that when his father was young, he was at a friend’s house where there was a freshly-strained bucket of milk on the kitchen floor. A dog walked into the room, lifted its leg and urinated into the bucket. His friend’s mother shrugged, saying she would have to strain the milk again.
“Straining the milk is not going to take the bad stuff out of the milk,” Moyle said. “Our amendments are not taking the bad stuff out of the bill…and I ain’t drinking the tainted milk.”
The amendments he was talking about were largely symbolic. The bill he was talking about was largely routine — until extremists in the Republican Party spun it into a United Nations, Agenda 21, Sharia law conspiracy.
Of course, the tea partiers’ paranoid, xenophobic misgivings were a bunch of nonsense. Following the metaphor, the milk was only tainted in their bizarre, collective imaginations.
This isn’t the first time this has happened. The extreme right often believes there’s pee in the milk. It’s a convenient way to see the world. It’s something you can’t fix, and fixing things is difficult. The only option is to throw it out, and that’s easy.
It’s what tea partiers want to do to Idaho’s healthcare exchange and public lands. It’s what they’ve already done to Medicaid expansion.
To the tea party, our system of government is too contaminated to fix. It’s why they shut the government down, damaged our credit rating and nearly defunded the Department of Homeland Security. It’s why you hear implicit calls for a revolution and explicit calls for secession.
It’s also why the extreme right can’t govern. Sure they want to get rid of the Affordable Care Act and Medicare, but they have no replacement for them. Even if it results in our health care system collapsing and elderly people left without insurance, it doesn’t phase them. It’s better than drinking tainted milk.
The shtick is becoming routine. First they declare the public policies that contributed to this nation’s ascendency are too flawed to save. Then they throw in fears about foreigners and lost sovereignty and voila, they’ve made an argument their base cannot resist.
Unfortunately, this philosophy leaves a wake of damage in its path. Whether it’s 70,000 Idahoans without health insurance, 184,000 children without child support or a nation without public lands, the right-wingers don’t care.
They ain’t never gonna drink the tainted milk.