Debate Magazine

Tapped out Conservatives

Posted on the 18 October 2013 by Doggone
Tapped out ConservativesThere are three stories that come to mind for their similarity; two are recent, while one is a few years old. Those three stories are illustrative of attitudes about a kind of entitlement by people in power, and about money that is not theirs, the rich and poor, and how that relates to conservatives. Those three stories also all relate to taps, the other word for faucets.  Power. Money. Poverty and the entitlement of the Rich.  Also, a lack of honesty and forthrightness about their conduct.  Fundamental to that bad spending is failed and faulty notions about themselves and about other people.
The oldest story is from the Duh-bya Bush era. Two things are significant - how long it took for the press to get the info, and the cost of the faucet:
The Interior Secretary’s $222,000 Bathroom
Maybe the Pentagon’s legendary $600 toilet seat was a bargain.
The personal bathroom used by the secretary of the Interior is so swanky that its renovation cost $222,000. No detail was overlooked: It has a $3,500 sub-zero refrigerator (hey, if you’re going to have a fridge in the bathroom, it might as well be a good one) and a $689 faucet. At least the “vintage tissue holder” was cheap: just $65 bucks.
The renovation was done in 2007 under President George W. Bush’s Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, but is only now coming to light, thanks to the dogged reporting by ABC News Atlanta affiliate WSB-TV, which first filed a Freedom of Information Act request on the renovation four years ago.
Like some tea partiers who incorrectly blame the poor response to Hurricane Katrina on Obama, there are those who have tried to blame this Bush era lack of oversight on Obama as well.  In point of fact, as noted in the second link, Obama's administration put much stricter oversight in place to prevent this kind of thing.  The Bush era was notoriously lax in oversight of their own agencies, especially the interior, which had multiple scandals, not just this one.  But then it was the Bush lax oversight and anti-regulation policies which were causal, in part, of the 2008 economic crash too.  It was a Bush policy deliberately not to regulate, to trust and assume that business wouldn't act recklessly.
Then we have the second story, more current, but outside America, but still about a conservative mindset - and another renovation, including a faucet in a private bathroom that cost thousands of dollars.  THAT renovation cost the equivalent of $42 million in euros.
Catholics Furious As Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-Van Elst's Residence Renovation Cost $42 Million
The cost of the project on the bishop of Limburg’s property is reportedly 10 times the original estimate. The upgrades reportedly included heavy spending on such items as built-in closets, a conference table and a basement under the bishop’s apartment.
Jochen Riebel, a locally prominent politician and member of a three-person, church-appointed committee that oversees the diocese's assets, said the bishop repeatedly had construction plans changed and ordered lavish furnishings for his personal apartment—all without properly informing the committee.
There are also conflicts over flying first class to India, to visit the slums and poor -- the bishop didn't want to fly coach/business.  His excuse, he didn't want to have all those poor people who were struggling to find their next meal or to keep a roof over their head or to recover from sickness see him at less than his best.  He wanted to be well rested. Yeah, because THAT would matter to those poor people.  And then he lied about it, under oath, claiming he had flown more cheaply.  And like the interior secretary, the info is not being kept hidden, and the people who are supposed to be served by that money, those who donated it to the church, are not being served - including the churches in the bishop's jurisdiction going unheated due to lack of money during religious services.  The bishop is considered to be among the most ultra-conservatives from the last pope's reign over the church, and so far as can be discovered, has done little or nothing for the poor in his diocese, or the poor in India.   While the money donated to the church is in some measure his to oversee and spend, it's NOT HIS MONEY, not his private personal cash.  He just, apparently, believes his position entitles him to a degree of over-the-top luxury.
Then we have a story closer to home, AND current,  also about faucets and taps, in this case the kind of 'tap' in a craft beer bar, and conservatives over the top sense of entitlement:
Report: Tea party group FreedomWorks is in deep financial trouble
The conservative activist group credited with building the tea party has turned into a nearly broke wingnut welfare slush fund, according to former staffers.
Sources told BuzzFeed that FreedomWorks was forced to take out a $1 million line of credit to keep extra cash on hand earlier this year.
The nonprofit organization raised more than $40 million last year but has taken in as little as $3 million so far this year, the site reported Friday, and staffers are reportedly fleeing the group as morale plummets.
Two sources with close knowledge of the organization’s finances told Buzzfeed that FreedomWorks had raised less than $2 million in the first quarter of 2013, although a former employee said it may have raised as much as $10 million so far this year.
But the group’s financial troubles were less related to raising money in an off-cycle year and had more to do with extravagant spending, including a craft beer bar in the office and $80,000 Las Vegas hotel bills, by FreedomWorks’ top-heavy management structure, sources said.
They also questioned the value in spending a reported $1 million a year to prop up Glenn Beck’s network, The Blaze.
This is consistent with other behavior we have seen from conservatives - expensive faucets, no accountability or oversight of extravagant spending of other people's money (hello - Tony Sutton anyone?) through a sense of personal entitlement to excess, and conservative attitudes which belittles social justice and social welfare, while failing to spend wisely.
As has been noted here before, Conservatives, Republicans, don't pay their bills, they don't handle money responsibly, they aer not transparent or honest about it when they don't. They are as profligate in government as they are in other governments, and when in positions of power, they grab for themselves, while both blaming and penalizing others, people in real need, subordinates, poor people...... in short, anyone who is not they themselves. It is a 'grab for myself, the hell with everyone else' mentality, and it is reflected in their politics. You have only to look at the attitudes of the extreme right during the shut down, where the suicide caucus aka the tea party caucus and their radical right allies kept all of their congressional perks - like the congressional gym, while bemoaning the closing of the national parks and monuments they shut down --and dissing those workers who as federal employees do the work of keeping them open.
If you put conservatives in charge, you will, consistently, find bad choices made about spending money - NOT THEIR OWN MONEY - money that will be spent to benefit them personally, while shafting the trust of those who put them in the position to spend that money.  It is money that will not be well spent, conservatives in charge will result in significant debt, and the spenders will be intensely resistant to oversight.  Fundamental to that bad spending is failed and faulty notions about themselves and about other people.
We can only hope they don't succeed in the 2014 and 2016 elections - that conservatives have also tapped out their political capital, too.

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