Thursday, September 04, 2008

McCain on Arts Funding

We've gone a few rounds on whether federal arts funding is a good or bad thing here, but on the eve of John McCain's acceptance speech as the GOP Presidential nominee, I thought I should look a little more closely at what his position on the matter is.

There is nothing at all about arts funding (or the importance of the arts to the nation) on his website that I could find.

There are several blog posts about his long-standing rejection of the notion that federal dollars should ever be spent to support organizations like the NEA, and this article from the University of Southern California:
McCain... has a historical track record of supporting anti-arts legislation, including the 1999 Smith-Ashcroft Amendment, which would have cut all funding for the NEA; and the 1989 Helms Amendment, which aimed to deny funding to art considered “obscene.” McCain doesn’t have an arts policy, other than a desire to eliminate spending directed toward the arts.
In fact, in one analysis of how a McCain administration would spend federal money, the arts are singled out among a long list of other possibilities as the only place he would entirely eliminate funding. He'd increase funding for police and military needs, but for arts, and according to this source, arts alone, it's a total elimination:
    McCain would “maintain status” on spending for:
  • AIDS programs
  • Environmental programs
  • Foreign aid
  • Housing projects
  • Job training programs
  • Medicaid & Medicare
  • Student loan programs
    McCain would “slightly increase” spending for:
  • Education (K-12)
  • Law enforcement
  • Military & Veterans Benefits
  • Border Control
    McCain would “slightly decrease” spending for:
  • NASA
  • Welfare
    McCain would eliminate spending for:
  • Arts funding
I know that will endear him to some readers here, but in light of how he's approaching some other "entitlement" programs, this strikes me as a virtually hostile position toward the arts (not to mention, not at all likely to offset the tax cuts for the wealthy he proposes making permanent).

In response to this attitude toward a government's involvement/responsibility in supporting the arts, I would point out that among the more conservative people I spoke with recently about how they liked (or didn't like) the 2008 Summer Olympics, and there was plenty of bellyaching about what they assumed must be unfair judging or under-age athletes, not to mention human rights abuses, by the host country, the one thing they all agreed that they truly loved was the artistry and pageantry of the opening and closing ceremonies. That's what they remembered most fondly about the games, what they marveled at, what softened their otherwise harsh opinions of the Chinese: their art.

We can't afford a president who doesn't understand how the arts go hand in hand with improving your image abroad. Forget that this is the man who didn't have the wherewithal, especially among his staff, to avoid letting this photo happen...

...not understanding that one of America's remaining areas of dominance is its culture makes him uniquely unqualified to lead us into the 21st Century, where images are increasingly the new lingua franca and art one of the most powerful tools for diplomacy. I think it's fine to debate whether federal dollars should be spent on the arts, but McCain has no position on our cultural heritage, other than eliminating arts funding, that I can find. Anyone else knowing otherwise, please share.


Watching the acceptance speech of Vice-Presidential nominee, Governor Sarah Palin (R, Alaska) last night, I couldn't help but think about this scene from the short-lived TV show, Commander in Chief, in which a woman Vice-President is told, upon the death of the President, that she had been put on the ticket merely as theater, and that the right thing for her to do was to step down now.

I actually loved the first three or four episodes of this show. The fire and strength of Geena Davis' character and the joy of seeing her work through the problems facing the nation with a mixture of wisdom and compassion was a wonderful antidote to the real-life White House situation in 2005. But somehow the show lost its way and eventually fizzled entirely. I think it had something to do with their main writer leaving the show, or perhaps it was just that there simply were not enough epiphanies that comes to one over the breakfast table as a mother with rambunctious teenagers and a husband who seems somewhat resentful at the role of first spouse that then provide insight into actionable solutions to international turmoil. In other words, if the shows writers hadn't relied as heavily on that device as they did, they might not have written themselves into a corner.

I won't predict how well Sarah Palin might do as President if it came to that. I truly hope, for the sake of America, she doesn't get the VP job.

Labels: arts funding, politics


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok, am I an idiot? What's wrong with the photo?

9/04/2008 09:28:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

I actually chose one of the least aesthetically offense versions of it I could find, but when you saw this speech on TV, you were distracted by how pale (cottage cheesy, was the term one pundit used) McCain looked against that lime green background.

It was rather distracting.

9/04/2008 09:31:00 AM  
Blogger joy said...

yes, McCain raises the bar for cottage cheese everywhere... as for Ms. Palin, there's no way I can ever morally support a candidate who outlines her lips in dark brown pencil.


9/04/2008 09:47:00 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

Lets play baby toss!

9/04/2008 09:50:00 AM  
Blogger George said...

McCains policies on arts funding do not matter.

"It's the economy stupid" [Bill Clinton]

Over the last 50 years, family income growth under Republican administrations is significantly less than it is under Democrat administrations across the board. What is worse is that under Republican administrations income growth is markedly skewed towards the wealthy (range: 0.43% and 1.90%). Under Democratic administrations, family income growth is roughly equal (range: 2.64% and 2.12%)

See Is History Siding With Obama’s Economic Plan

In addition, the world banking system is in dire straits, hedge funds are collapsing and as a result the wealthy are skittish. McCain is an economic illiterate and his top advisor, Phil Grahm is a failure.

So McCain's policies on Funding for the Arts, are moot, they do not matter.

McCain is a disaster in the making. If he is elected (he won't be, but what if...) The Us stock market will decline another 20%, the economy will slip into a deeper recession taking the rest of the world economies with us. The art market will crash.

With Obama, the problems will not go away overnight but I would expected measured policy developments which will smooth over the present rough spot.

This election is not about a vote for the arts, it's about a vote for all of US.

9/04/2008 09:56:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Lets play baby toss!

I have to say, though, the point at which Palin's youngest daughter used her own spit to smooth out the infant's hair was beyond adorable. Bambino nearly split a gut laughing.

This election is not about a vote for the arts, it's about a vote for all of US.

Agreed. But I think you make that case issue by issue. (Art will still be important whether McCain is elected or not, is my only point.) Thanks for sharing about the family income expectancies.

there's no way I can ever morally support a candidate who outlines her lips in dark brown pencil.


You sure that's not moose blood?

while we're being catty...loved this observation by Sullivan:

The one moment that stays with me tonight, oddly enough, was not Palin's speech. It was a line from Giuliani, a New York mayor with a young second third wife and gay friends, mocking a "cosmopolitan" who was brought up by a single mother. It was that Barack Obama's rise could "only happen in America." And it was designed to mock him, the first African-American candidate for the presidency of the United States.

I won't forget that.

The irony-meter at last nights RNC was off the charts. Another personal favorite was when Palin said, and I quote, "My fellow citizens, the American presidency is not supposed to be a journey of personal discovery." This from the woman who spent the afternoon being tutored in McCain's foreign policy positions.

9/04/2008 10:17:00 AM  
Blogger Joanne Mattera said...

Palin has experience. She was president of the PTA and then mayor of a town of 9000 (or maybe the other way around. And, Joy, she must know a thing or two about cosmetics: she was Miss Freakin Alaska. Her twin reigns as PTA president and beauty queen prepare her to to be at least as qualified as George Bush, and look at what a great job he has done.

Hey, have you all seen this video that's making the rounds:

Is it me, or does Palin look like Anita Bryant?

9/04/2008 10:45:00 AM  
Anonymous Edric Aspesyan said...

47 million dollars cut for the arts since Harper is there in Canada. 30 per cent of the population agrees (statistics). Join the club.

Cedric C

9/04/2008 10:49:00 AM  
Blogger David said...

Beauty and the Beast:

Have you noticed how McCain is becoming visibly more distorted and scary looking - (bear with me). The Times front page photo shows him touching the young father and soon-to-be husband and his face is horribly distorted, while Sarah Palin, with her lip curls and air punches, is disarmingly irresistable (to a man). But who is the beauty and who is the beast? The Times story presents McCain as a man torn between ambition and a sense of honor and rightness. As a friend once said (about my father), "you have to pay a lot to get a face like that."
-as true of my Dad as of McCain. Some in the press today have noted that the cynicism and ridicule rained down by Palin, and even worse, Giuliani, were never what McCain was about, and he always seems half-hearted and scripted when he tries to follow that play. Palin on the other hand seems like a venomous flower. Well they're doing it again - "character, patriotism, family values". I watched, but had to turn away often. It was all just too ugly.

9/04/2008 10:56:00 AM  
Blogger joy said...

You sure that's not moose blood?

OMFG, I am so naive.

she must know a thing or two about cosmetics

you are what you wear?

9/04/2008 10:57:00 AM  
Blogger George said...

File under: Believe it or not...

I think McCain is throwing the election to get even with Karl,the Republican SS and the party Ultra Konservatives.

Remember a an election ago when McCain was running against Bush, Karl and the Storm Troopers started a rumor that McCain had fathered a "black child" (Honest, you can't make this stuff up)

"The truth was that Bridget McCain was a seriously ill baby in Mother Teresa's orphanage when Cindy McCain visited and decided to bring her back to the United States for medical treatment in 1991. John and Cindy adopted her not long after." Source: The Nation

It tipped the vote in South Carolina and Bush went on to win.

I'm speculating that McCain realizes that Obama is the greatest politician in the last 50 years and is unbeatable without obviously playing the race card which he won't do. (yes the US is still racist) Since the republicans can't win, he's rubbing it in Karl's face, Bridget vs Bristol and all.

It's important to keep the kids out of it.

9/04/2008 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

It's important to keep the kids out of it.

If only they would!

I mean, what was the point of bringing in the shot-gun fiance and of focusing so much on her latest child in her speech if not to bring the kids into it?

You can't have it both ways.

9/04/2008 11:32:00 AM  
Blogger George said...

You can't have it both ways."

True but... remember that the Republicans like diversions, Gay Marriage and the like, to deflect attention away from the real issues.

So, I believe that Palin is a poor choice for VP and that is the issue which reflects poorly on John McCain. (Remember, I'm suggesting that the issues surrounding Bristol are McCain's subconscious responses to Roves earlier smear.)

More to the point, attention is being diverted away from the issues that really matter, the economy, health care, jobs etc.

9/04/2008 11:50:00 AM  
Blogger Paddy Johnson said...

This doesn't speak specifically to United States politics, but I think the Canadian conservative cuts to the arts may also cast a slightly different light on McCain's hostile position on the arts.

As it happens, these cuts occurred at exactly the same time as the Olympics, a world stage Canada performed very poorly at this year. When it came out that the government had underfunded those teams, the conservatives simply reallocated the 48 million they'd cut from the arts to the Olympic teams. In and of itself, that kind of haphazard money management is infuriating, but it also revealed other developing stories, the most important of which, is that the Conservatives told Vancouver, which will be hosting the 2012 Olympic games, that the 20 million the Liberals had previously earmarked for the opening ceremonies without strings, would be granted, but only if they were given input on the look of these games. Whether a case such as this can be made in the case of McCain is unclear, but as the conservative government in Canada aptly demonstrates, the impetus behind cutting the arts has less to do with an under-estimation of its inherent value, than a desire to control independent thinking and the freedom of speech.

9/04/2008 12:27:00 PM  
Blogger kalm james said...

Perhaps one of the grandest expositions of the unvarnished true soul of Feminism to be seen anywhere in the art world blogosphere.

9/04/2008 12:36:00 PM  
Blogger joy said...

the impetus behind cutting the arts has less to do with an under-estimation of its inherent value, than a desire to control independent thinking and the freedom of speech.

Bingo. That's exactly it.


9/04/2008 12:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Bambino said...

I can see the news flash now...Second Vice President in a row in shooting accident. Pictures at 11

9/04/2008 01:08:00 PM  
Blogger joy said...


9/04/2008 01:12:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

yum yum

9/04/2008 01:26:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

The thing about McCain I keep coming back to, after all these distractions, is that he seems to truly believe that he can continue to implement the same policies Bush & Co have implemented over the past 8 years (truly, how are his any different in substance?), with control of Congress for 6 of them no less, but still somehow in doing so facilitate a different outcome.

Isn't that the definition of insanity?

It's as if he refuses to admit the GOP's policies were clearly, fundamentally flawed. That there is no meaningful or long-term "trickle down" and never will be. I mean seriously, if they can't demonstrate the truth in their theories in 6 years with an opposition party totally ineffective in stopping them, what would it take for them to suspect the have it wrong?

9/04/2008 02:46:00 PM  
Anonymous McFawn said...


I don't know how you can bash McCain for not supporting the arts. His pick for VP is a wonderful performance artist. I love her skewed parody of soccer (hockey--ha,ha) moms--Laurie Anderson could do no better.

9/04/2008 02:52:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

It is interesting that the Republicans are seen as the party of 'big business' yet over the last 100 years the US stock market has performed significantly better under Democrat administrations.

Under Republican administrations, everyone but the rich (the upper 5% of income distribution) get screwed. McCain has already admitted that he is not too savvy (he's ignorant) when it comes to economics, but worse his advisors are members of the failed supply-side-trickle-down-your-pant-leg theories from the Reagan years.

At stake again are the 3 SUPREME COURT justice positions which will be nominated by the next president. This is a major voting point since the justices are appointed for life.

McCain == kiss Roe vs Wade goodbye.

So they want women to vote for Palin because she is a girl who shoots cariboux? I don't think so.

Some of my Republican friends in the financial world are crossing over, the others I'm trying to drive crazy because their attitude paraphrases as "let them eat cake."


9/04/2008 03:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If only the vagina scroll lady hadn't pissed off the NEA this wouldn't constantly be an issue, the NEA would still be a viable option for many.

Free speech -whatever-

Her scrolls were not worth the discontinuation of funding no matter how you cut it.

9/04/2008 04:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm specifically referring to the fact that individual artists ceased being able to apply directly to the NEA for funding afterwards.

9/04/2008 04:32:00 PM  
Blogger Joanne Mattera said...

Anonymous 4:15 and 4:32,

You have it all wrong: If only the NEA hadn't been so narrowminded as to have been pissed off by the vagina scroll lady (that would be Carolee Schneeman) or the chocolate smear lady (that would be Karen Finley) or anyone else who did something even remotely transgressive.

Actually, seeing Schneeman pull that scroll out is a wonderful metaphor for what we, as artists, do every day: we pull our guts out to make something tangible.

Until the government is enlightened on this issue, there are other funding sources. Check out for an alphabetical list of grants for artists.

9/04/2008 06:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

NEA funding was rescinded as a result of Carolee's "Interior Scroll" performance? Can you cite a reference for this? I believe you are mistaken.

9/04/2008 07:58:00 PM  
Blogger the reader said...

"not understanding that one of America's remaining areas of dominance is its culture makes him uniquely unqualified to lead us into the 21st Century"

this is somewhat pedantic but is culture really about "dominance"? Surely this is an unfortunate choice of words particularly in the light of the other forms of imperialism that spew forth from the US. Perhaps 8 years of Bush et al has had some affect on your vocabulary.

9/04/2008 08:02:00 PM  
Blogger highlowbetween said...

I'm going to argue that this election is about what kind of society we want to live in. Christianist Sparta or a leading world democracy.

no one should be surprised by the McCain record against the humanities.

9/04/2008 08:33:00 PM  
Blogger Balhatain said...

If McCain is elected he will not be able to ban abortion. It simply won't happen. Several states have steps in place to challenge a ban. If anything it might become a choice that each state will have to decide on.

The most he would be able to do is try to place restrictions or limitations, but even that could be challenged. McCain does not stand any more chance of banning abortion than Pelosi has of trying to make it so that a pregnancy can be terminated up to three days before the due date. Those two extremes will never happen. The most you can hope for is some form of balance over the issue.

As for welfare. Personally, I don't care if funding for welfare ended up decreased. I think finding out who is abusing it would be a better way of going about it though. I'm speaking from experience. I was born and raised in one of the poorest counties in my home state. I've seen first hand how the welfare system can be abused. In many ways it becomes a lifestyle for some people.

Honestly, some people back home actually teach their children how to exploit the system as if it is some form of grand knowledge that they are passing down. This includes parents telling their daughters to have babies young because it is an "easier way of living than finding a job".

It is not hard to find jobless couples who are in their early to mid 20s with three to five kids simply because they don't want to work and have no intention of working. Having kids and nabbing that extra 'help' becomes their job. They should not get any help from the system. Those resources should be utilized for people who actually deserve it.

Wow. I just ranted!

9/05/2008 02:42:00 AM  
Blogger Ian Aleksander Adams said...


9/05/2008 04:02:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I might point out that these welfare programs you so vociferously oppose are a drop in the bucket compared to the billions the US spent looking for WMD and continues to spend on two war fronts--or that the US gave in contracts to Cheney's Halliburton. I'm not in favor of stupid, lazy people populating the world, either (or being president for that matter), but everything's relative. And what would you have those kids eat: dirt? plaster?

9/05/2008 10:37:00 AM  
Blogger jeff f said...

I think all presidential candidates should have to be able to dress a moose.

They should have a reality based contest to see who can come in first.

Palin does look a little like Anita Bryant. Palin is more of a zealot though.

Cindy McCain also resembles Evita Peron. Now she is one scary piece of work. Do you think she eats?

On the topic of Art funding and NEA
I hate to say this but there are more important issues, such as the Supreme court and a womens right to choose. If I have to pick battles here the NEA is going to lose.

I don't like it and I hope it does keep it's funding but the NEA funding has been diminishing for years.

Artist and arts organizations will need to learn how to raise money from the private sector.

I'm not happy about this, but this is a reality that all artist and orginizations need to confront.

9/05/2008 12:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Artists should be paid through municipalities. They should be paid a salary no higher than that of a firefighter or policeman. All of the work should be surrendered to the municipalities for display on a revolving basis.

Anybody got a problem with that?

9/05/2008 12:43:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

balahatain's response is precisely the type of bigoted Republican remark I was alluding to with "let them eat cake."

9/05/2008 01:09:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

anon 12:43,

Do you have any idea how much money policemen make? With overtime they can easily earn more than a doctor. [Monrovia CA $160k/yr)

9/05/2008 01:12:00 PM  
Blogger Balhatain said...

Anonymous, perhaps next time you can put a handle behind your words? So you think it is OK for adults to use their children as a form of shield? I did not say that kids in that situation should eat dirt or plaster-- I‘m not suggesting that they should starve. However, I don’t think their parents should be eating steaks nor do I think a political party should embrace that sort of behavior simply for votes!

Strong support for some aspects of welfare has created an entire culture of dependency. There is no excuse for a perfectly healthy 20-something man or woman not working just because they had children young. Unless you have lived in a very poor community you probably will not understand how I see it.

The reality of the situation is that some people are poor because they choose to be. If a couple does not want to work… if they don’t want to provide for their children… if they expect the rest of us to take care of them… perhaps those children should be taken away from their neglectful parents?

Once the kids are out of the way… sure, let those abusers of the system starve if they don't want to work. Again, some people honestly need the help and they should have the help that they need. However, my guess is that there are millions abusing the system.

9/05/2008 01:23:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

With all due respect, these kind of remarks about the welfare system are codewords for racism regardless of party affiliation. Certainly it is a system with flaws which need to be addressed, but the types of arguments you have provided are the classical points brought up by the bigoted who are afraid to make remarks with direct racist overtones. Less you misread me, some of my best friends are republicans.

9/05/2008 01:57:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An unexpectedly steep 84,000 U.S. jobs were lost in August and the unemployment rate hit a five-year high of 6.1 percent, fanning worry ahead of November's presidential vote that the economy was near recession....

With employment down every month since January, the statistical models are now strongly favoring Obama with a real chance of a blowout sweep of both hopuses as well. Cake anyone?

9/05/2008 02:16:00 PM  
Blogger Balhatain said...

My response is based on my experiences and since I‘m talking about a predominately white community, all of the people that come to mind are white, I don‘t see how you consider my opinion racist. My opinion is based on what I've seen growing up. Where I came from.

Like I said, I was born and raised in one of the poorest counties in my state. I did not have much growing up, but I did not expect people to provide for me either-- especially if I'm capable of working.

That is what I’m talking about-- people who could work, but don’t. People who suck up money and resources that could be used for people who actually need it. How does that make me a bigot?

9/05/2008 02:25:00 PM  
Blogger jeff f said...

balhatian have you ever been to Richford Vetmont?

It's a small Vermont border town with not much there in the way of jobs.

Most people live in trailers and a dirt poor.
They few jobs that are in this area are in farming, logging, and seasonal ski area jobs.

The education system there is not very good most kids drop out of school and a lot young girls are pregnant before they are 20.

How about a poor coal mining community in West Virginia, same issues. People don't choose to become poor nor do they stay poor because they want to.

They are born into it, if you live in a rural area and don't have good unrequited transportation, it's hard to get around to find a job.

Same goes for cites such a Phoenix and Atlanta.

You can't paint everyone with one brush.

9/05/2008 02:32:00 PM  
Blogger Balhatain said...

George, I'm talking about people I know who have abused the welfare system for years and in some cases decades. I'm fully aware that people are loosing jobs and that they will need help. I'm not saying they should not have help. I'm saying that if people who abuse that help were to be exposed there would be more money to go around for those who honestly need it. How hard is that to understand?

9/05/2008 02:34:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

Oh, excuse me. The reason I used the "Let them eat cake" phrase in my comment which preceded yours was because of a Republican reply (in another venue) which paraphrased your 'welfare' remark. I've been around the block, and you sir, are a bigot.

9/05/2008 02:48:00 PM  
Blogger Balhatain said...

Jeff, the community I'm talking about IS a rural community, but there are larger towns within driving distance. Most people drive to Alton or Springfield to work. Again, I'm talking about people who abuse the system, people who have no intention of working. I'm talking about people who technically steal from me, you, and people who honestly need help.

Some people DO choose to be poor because they have no intention of working-- I've seen it! I know people who openly say it! Why work when you can eat steak? That is the position that some of them have. I'm talking about what I've experienced and what I've observed in that community and I'm sure it happens in other communities. It needs to stop.

9/05/2008 02:53:00 PM  
Blogger Balhatain said...

George, come to my block. :P

9/05/2008 03:02:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

Again, these points are made to incite hatred towards others. By specifically choosing a particular example you are then suggesting that all welfare recipients are like the ones you describe. This is just another pernicious form of bigotry used in class warfare.

9/05/2008 03:09:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

B, sorry pal been there done that.

9/05/2008 03:11:00 PM  
Blogger Balhatain said...

George, I'm not suggesting that. You are. Psychologically you are revealing your own bigotry.
Or you are just a flamer. Which is it?

9/05/2008 03:42:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

My response was precisely tailored to your remark, it is correct regardless of your intended meaning. Take it as you will.

9/05/2008 03:52:00 PM  
Blogger Joanne Mattera said...

Not exactly arts funding, but related:

Barack Obama supports the Artist-Museum Partnership Act ( ), introduced by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT). The Act amends the Internal Revenue Code to allow artists to deduct the fair market value of their work, rather than just the costs of the materials, when they make charitable contributions.

9/05/2008 04:39:00 PM  
Blogger Pretty Lady said...

George, balhaltain isn't a bigot, unless he's bigoted against himself. He clearly stated that he was talking about people with whom he grew up. I know what real bigots look like, and trust me, he's nowhere near.

The question to my mind is: what systemic checks and balances can we place that discourage abuse without unduly shaming and harassing people who genuinely need the help? I have often noticed that systems which inherently punish people for daring to ask for help, such as the labyrinthine bureaucratic processes that one has to go through to get Medicaid, actually chase away the decent people with self-respect, and encourage bottom feeders to make a career out of gaming the system, the way balhatain describes.

Moreover, many of our welfare laws discourage marriage, two-parent families, and parents getting jobs by cutting benefits drastically for people who are actually trying to work their way out of poverty. By trying to help only the neediest, we end up trapping people in a cycle of dependence.

It seems to me that it is well worth the price of supporting a few parasites if we can craft a set of welfare laws that genuinely give hard-working, decent people the tools they need to work their way out of poverty. But it requires a lot of thought, observation, and trial and error--not name-calling.

9/05/2008 06:57:00 PM  
Blogger Balhatain said...

Good points PL.

9/05/2008 11:48:00 PM  
Blogger David said...

Not directly related to arts funding, but indicative of the attitude toward people not white, rich and Christian: Richard Dreir in the Nation has a comprehensive response to the cynical piling on about community organizing at the Republican convention. Ironically the theme of the evening was "service". Bob Herbert has a related response today in the Times about the "quality of deception" at the convention. E.J. Dion on NPR said he felt whiplash looking back on the thing, contrasting McCain's comments with all the preceeding baloney. Even David Brooks called Mitt Romney's speech "borderline insane." This crew can't be good for artists.

9/06/2008 10:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Franklin said...

I'm coming in late here - I'm currently in southwestern Saskatchewan en route to North Dakota - but I want to say that while I would support the elimination of arts funding as a libertarian, it's only meaningful to do so if that money corresponds to a tax cut that enables people to fund art themselves. This administration has been one of the most profligate in history, and they are nevertheless trying to pass themselves off as small-government conservatives. That arts-funding cut in the McCain platform takes place against the background of Iraq, where we are spending $32,000 a minute and every sixth dollar spent thus far is unaccounted for. No one who thinks that the surge is "working" has any business calling himself a small-government conservative, either fiscally or philosophically, and the idea that we should single out arts funding for elimination while maintaining every other corporate and personal welfare program is just mean-spirited and phony.

9/07/2008 11:47:00 AM  
Anonymous L.M. said...

A zero unemployment rate would be an economic disaster for your country. It would give workers a bargaining chip greater than any union could ever provide, driving up inflation. Every government economist knows this, it's the deal with the devil that they make to function smoothly and protect business. A percentage of a population cannot work. Sure they can still get a job if they try hard like the deserving poor we want them to be, but in the cruel unemployment numbers game, that job comes from someone else. So get over the anger, a percentage of the population will never be allowed to work within the economic system. Whether they want to work or not is a red herring for you to focus a bit of rage onto.

9/07/2008 12:33:00 PM  
Blogger jeff f said...

The percentage of money the people who you claim are deliberately poor to get a free ride on out tax dollars is peanuts compared to the corporate welfare that is being dolled out year after year.

While I see your point some poor uneducated rural family living on less than 15k a year on Government handouts does not seem to matter so much to when I see Oil companies getting tax breaks in millions and then making billions in profits!

Perspective my friend you need some perspective.

9/09/2008 05:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone seems to forget that the NEA Four mess hit the courts during a Democrat controlled Congress and while Clinton was in office. So if the Democrats are the savior of art why did they not put a stop to that? More Democrats support the orphan works bill than Republicans and they also support changing patent laws more than Republicans. Look it up.

9/10/2008 01:59:00 AM  

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