By MARC McDONALD
A few years ago, actor Craig T. Nelson was being interviewed by creepy GOP nutcase Glenn Beck and he made a comment that was widely ridiculed (see video above).
"I've been on food stamps and welfare, did anyone help me out? No." Nelson said.
Nelson was praising the virtues of America's "capitalistic" society. Many commentators pointed out the contradiction of Nelson's praise of a dog-eat-dog capitalist system and his admission of collecting welfare while bizarrely claiming that nobody had ever helped him out.
What many of these commentators missed though was that there really wasn't any contradiction in Nelson's comments---at least in the minds of today's Republicans.
I've talked to many Republicans over the years. The vast majority of them claim to be hard-core capitalists, who support a vicious dog-eat-dog, survival of the fittest, Ayn Rand/wet dream type society. In a nutshell, they all are strongly in favor of shutting down all government programs with the exception of the Pentagon.
Oh, and almost without exception, all of these Republicans themselves have benefited handsomely from various government programs. They've always been the first in line to claim their food stamps, jobless benefits, Medicare, and various other government programs. In fact, many of them actually work for the government. They pull down lavish taxpayer-funded paychecks and enjoy amazing benefits and pensions that are light years beyond anything that any private sector employee gets.
The latter type of Republican is well represented by the likes of extreme Far-Right radio talker Mark Levin. Levin worked as a highly paid government employee for years, pulling down a huge taxpayer-funded salary back in the 1980s. Today, this hypocritical asswipe advocates shutting down everything in the government, except for the Pentagon. (It's nice to see Levin supporting the military now, considering that this chickenhawk never served).
Actually, there's no contradiction here, at least in the minds of the Republicans themselves.
Republicans claim to be fiscal conservatives and they ferociously oppose the government helping anyone out. But that only applies to other people. Certainly not themselves.
If many of the Republicans I talk to could remake Medicare to only benefit themselves and nobody else, they'd do it in a heartbeat.
The fact is, the Republicans I've talked to are in favor of lavish, generous government spending---as long as ALL the money goes directly into their pockets---and theirs alone.
The Republicans only throw a hissy fit if anybody else is benefiting from any government program.
The fact is, Nelson's comments neatly sum up the modern GOP mindset.