of a Crocodile
by The Radical Ratdog
According to a Washington Post article...
Byrd vs. O'Neill: Budget Battle Turns Personal
By Glenn Kessler
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, February 8, 2002; Page A01
Tensions between Congress and the White House over the
president's budget exploded into the open yesterday when a
debate over congressional prerogatives turned into an unusually
bitter and personal exchange involving two of Washington's
most powerful figures: Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.) and Treasury
Secretary Paul H. O'Neill.
The spat rocked an otherwise routine Senate Budget Committee
hearing, where the normal dance of senatorial courtesy --
and polite groveling by administration witnesses -- suddenly
vanished. O'Neill, telling Byrd he wouldn't "cede to you the
high moral ground of not knowing what life is like in a ditch,"
struggled with his emotions by taking deep breaths.
Byrd, 84, chairs the Appropriations Committee and is arguably
the fiercest defender of Congress's interests. He spent 15
minutes berating O'Neill, a blunt former corporate executive,
for a speech O'Neill made last year asserting that congressional
rules "created by just ordinary people" are "like the
Lilliputians tying us to the ground." Washington
Treasury Secretary Paul H. O'Neill, reportedly, shed tears.
Various other news media later described these as tears of
Were they tears of compassion, self-pity, fire or those of
Asserting that 'congressional rules "created by just ordinary
people" are "like the Lilliputians tying us to the ground"
' reveals an underlying disdain for the ordinary people. Ordinary
people, whom, he later claims are part of his roots.
Is there compassion for the ordinary people, for Lilliputians
in those tears?
Let's look at a few statistics:
According to the US Census 2000 31.1 million people live in
poverty, 40% of them are children
It is estimated that 760,000 people are homeless on any given
night, and 1.2 to 2 million people experience homelessness
during one year. (Ref: National Law Center on Homelessness
and Poverty, via the National Coalition for the Homeless)
On Health Insurance:
The failure of small- and medium-sized employers to add coverage
is one reason the number of Americans without health insurance
has increased from 39 million in 1994 to 44 million in 1998,
employee benefits experts say. Though more Americans are working
today, many of the new jobs do not include insurance benefits.
Forty-seven percent of welfare recipients had no job when
they were terminated. Forty-three percent who had a job when
they were terminated only had part-time work. And two-thirds
received Food Stamps and/or Medicaid while they were ineligible
for cash aid. (Ref:HandsNet, Welfare Law Center) Institute
for Research on Poverty
And yet, despite the expression of compassionate conservatism,
the 2003 budget as presented by the Bush Administration, significantly
cuts funding to programs that would help those in greatest
need. Funding that would gie them a hand-up and out of the
Cry your crocodile tears, Mr. O'Neill. Men, women and children
are still living and dying in ditches while your compassion
extends no further than the corporate boardroom.
These "ordinary people", these "Lilliputians" are the very
backbone of our country and a resource that should not be
left in the ditches. These "ordinary people", these "Lilliputians",
are the very people that built this country, that serve in
our military, that work in our factories, that die on the
battlefields and the streets of our country everyday.
To characterize them as being no better than insignificant
ants is an insult to the ideals and principles that founded
our country. You should be ashamed of yourself, and those
tears should be tears of shame.
Yet, I fear your tears are only those of a crocodile.
The Radical Ratdog is a 12 year old politically aware canine
of Chihuahua-Terrier ethnicity. Her BITE is worse than her