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Posted at 4:30 PM ET, 02/ 2/2011

Republicans vs. 'Obamastroid'

By Ezra Klein

The Onion explains how Washington really works:

In a strong rebuke of President Obama and his domestic agenda, all 242 House Republicans voted Wednesday to repeal the Asteroid Destruction and American Preservation Act, which was signed into law last year to destroy the immense asteroid currently hurtling toward Earth.

The $440 billion legislation, which would send a dozen high-thrust plasma impactor probes to shatter the massive asteroid before it strikes the planet, would affect more than 300 million Americans and is strongly opposed by the GOP.

"The voters sent us to Washington to stand up for individual liberty, not big government," Rep. Steve King (R-IA) said at a press conference. "Obama's plan would take away citizens' fundamental freedoms, forcing each of us into hastily built concrete bunkers and empowering the federal government to ration our access to food, water, and potassium iodide tablets while underground."

"We believe that the decisions of how to deal with the massive asteroid are best left to the individual," King added.

Repealing the act, which opponents have branded 'Obamastroid,' has been the cornerstone of the GOP agenda since the law's passage last August. Throughout the 2010 elections, Republican candidates claimed that the Democrats' plan to smash the space rock and shield citizens from its fragments was "a classic example of the federal government needlessly interfering in the lives of everyday Americans."

By Ezra Klein  | February 2, 2011; 4:30 PM ET
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Why does the government have to choose winners and losers? Let the market decide how the asteroid is blowed up, or, and this is crucial, *if* it should be blown up. Al Gore can make all the movies he wants about how terrible post-asteroid Earth would be, but I've been hearing for years about "global warming" and it's cold outside right now, so what does he know?

Posted by: MosBen | February 2, 2011 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Satire really is the only way to handle modern GOP. It's why the Daily Show continues to be one of America's most trusted sources of news.

It's just sad we have to go to a self-proclaimed "fake news" program to get it.

Posted by: dplionis | February 2, 2011 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Furthermore, the last asteroid impact of this magnitude destroyed the dinosaurs and cleared the way for the dominance of mammals and eventually mankind. Why does the left hate humanity? Who is to say that the effects of the asteroid will be all negative? Rock is perfectly natural and is found on every continent on Earth.
...I've just been informed that I should have said, God put evidence of an asteroid impact of this magnitude in the fossil record to test our faith. Why does the left hate God?

Posted by: _SP_ | February 2, 2011 5:12 PM | Report abuse

and those who believe that asteroids, and all other problems befalling us, are best left to the individual to solve, will take us all down with them.
human beings need protection from other human beings....unfortunately.
i dont know why they call it a "dog-eat-dog" world.
it is more like a man-eat-man world.

government and laws stop us from becoming cannibals.
without laws, oversight, intervention....that is what many/most would become.
if keeping our society safe and individuals well-cared for, was up to the would be time to run to the hills.
sad but true. what a sickening, selfish philosophy.

Posted by: jkaren | February 2, 2011 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Unlike the provision of health care, national defense is accepted as a legitimate function of government across the political spectrum - as far as I can, only anarchists would object.

That said, would people really need the government to force them into funding such a project?

Serious question.

Americans already give $300 billion to charity, after being forced to pay trillions upon trillions in taxes. Sure, some people wouldn't contribute, but when it comes to life and death most people will chip in.

Speaking of free riders, why would only the American government be paying for such a project?

Posted by: justin84 | February 2, 2011 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Justin, you outdo yourselves. How utterly, utterly perfect.

Posted by: AZProgressive | February 2, 2011 5:33 PM | Report abuse

really Ezra. This is the stuff you post instead of talking about state budgets like NY, CA and IL. How about talking about the tit for tat between Illinois' governor and NJ's governor? NYC having to let go of 10k+ teachers because of less funding from the state. I sure hope you didn't waste too much of your time on this.

Oh and to end the story President Obama didn't sign it, so the funding stood and the government spent all that money on this and it turns out that it burnt up in the atmosphere. Go figure. But at least we got some fantastic union jobs out of it.

Posted by: visionbrkr | February 2, 2011 6:11 PM | Report abuse

...and the GOP was right! Let's talk about the real issues: unemployment, the economy, Middle East tension, etc.!! Busting rocks in space is a load of crap!

Posted by: my4653 | February 2, 2011 6:36 PM | Report abuse

...and the GOP was right! Let's talk about the real issues: unemployment, the economy, Middle East tension, etc.!! Busting rocks in space is a load of crap!

Posted by: my4653 | February 2, 2011 6:37 PM | Report abuse

"But at least we got some fantastic union jobs out of it."

It's been hilarious to see visionbreaker's veneer of reasonableness flake off to reveal a kneejerk Chris Christie Conservative.

Posted by: pseudonymousinnc | February 2, 2011 7:09 PM | Report abuse

You silly liberals, that "asteroid" is the moon. It has been there for billions of years and all of your government spending will not change its orbit, although I am sure that after waisting trillions of tax payers money on it you will claim credit for saving us from that "asteroid". Al Gore may even get another Nobel Prize out of it. Fortunately the American people are smart enough to vote the Democrats out of office when their need to save the world threatens our liberties.

Posted by: cummije5 | February 2, 2011 7:21 PM | Report abuse

--*government and laws stop us from becoming cannibals.*--

Funny. My friends and I have long used the cannibal pot as a metaphor for collectivism. You know, people subsisting on little bits and pieces of their neighbors, fighting over what goes into the pot, and who gets to take how much out of it.

I'd be interested in what you mean by "becoming cannibals" without the force of the state being in place. Does it have to do with that dim appraisal of humanity you have? Government is what makes us civilized? If that's the case, why the pretense of freedom, then? Is it all a charade?

Posted by: msoja | February 2, 2011 7:56 PM | Report abuse


WOW!! "veneer of reasonableness" is as close as you've ever come to me as a compliment. Thanks.

Now seriously (since Ezra doesn't seem to want to go near the topic) what's the difference between what Christie did in 2010 to what Cuomo proposes to do in 2011 as far as cutting back on teachers in their respective states? It really can't all be one's a Democrat and one's a Republican can it?

Posted by: visionbrkr | February 2, 2011 8:01 PM | Report abuse

@justin84 sez: "[W]ould people really need the government to force them into funding such a project?"

Of course they wouldn't.

Is it possible that Klein doesn't realize that it's people like him being satirized in The Onion piece?

Posted by: msoja | February 2, 2011 8:37 PM | Report abuse

The Onion is spot on. Conservativism has hit the spot in its development where liberalism was in the late 70s: it dominates all the social and political discourse, but it's a spent force. It no longer has answers to problems for which the country needs answers, or the answers fall outside of its ideological parameters. It is left with only the job of defending its constituents against any attacks to their money or power, and is getting increasingly hysterical about it. For example, the super-duper job killing health bill repeal, or the gun control stunt in South Dakota. It's the last stand of the dumb and the desperate.

Posted by: ciocia1 | February 2, 2011 8:48 PM | Report abuse

--*[The GOP] no longer has answers to problems for which the country needs answers, or the answers fall outside of its ideological parameters.*--

Well, I say it's moronic to think anyone in government *should* have "answers" as to alleged problems in the country. Wasn't the nation formed with the idea that individuals would be free to solve their own problems, as they saw them? Is not this endless looking to government to "solve the nation's problems" absolving individuals of even trying to take responsibility for that which is their natural domain? The GOP should be the party of "NO". For that matter, so should the Dems be. Classic liberalism *was* about individual responsibility and freedom, standing against the state. So it should be again.

Posted by: msoja | February 2, 2011 9:22 PM | Report abuse

Global warming is stinking to high heavens aka global warming sometimes is rocket science and the GOP is a bunch of flamers:

With AGW and a $10 calculator, I publicly and correctly predicted the movement of the magnetosphere with lets in fireballs and solar flares - click on most recent first - here:

“The Event ... [56.75] But nay! I swear by the falling of stars” and “The Jinn ... [72.8] And that we sought to reach heaven, but we found it filled with strong guards and flaming stars” (The Koran; and “Genesis 37:9 ... "I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me" (Bible;

Posted by: ozonator | February 3, 2011 3:19 AM | Report abuse

"Well, I say it's moronic to think anyone in government *should* have "answers" as to alleged problems in the country. "

Let me put it another way. Conservatives have no clue as to what causes problems, or how to respond to them. Republicans used to *not* be the party of no--they believed that if you tried different tactics, you *could* use the federal government to alleviate problems--that by lowering taxes and regulation, problems could be fixed. Thirty years down the road, they are hawking the same strategies when they have no discernable effect on anything. Tax and regulatory cutting in the aughts didn't keep the recession/depression from happening, but they keep pushing them. They also said "yes" to disastrous wars that sucked money out of the Treasury that was not replenished, making their claims of fiscal responsibility a big joke. Last December, when they could have tried to be fiscally responsible, they gave away the house to protect tax breaks for the tiniest percentage of Americans--their clients. In health care, they propose nothing that would increase health care coverage, and tried to kill legislation by inciting the fears of the elderly that THEIR big-government health care coverage would be hurt by the new law. The Republican Party has no principals, just tactics, clients, and the hardening of ideological arteries.

Posted by: ciocia1 | February 3, 2011 6:02 AM | Report abuse

Could the GOP be any more frivolous? Where are the jobs? Where is the governance? Where are the new ideas? They increasingly remind me of people who inherit a house and spend all of their time gutting it of any remnant of its past owners, having no viable ideas of how to refurbish it once they're done with the wrecking ball. This is hardly surprising from people who believe weather and climate are synonymous, oppose abortion but feel no responsibility to those already born and suffering, and think tyranny means not being able to eat as much saturated fat as they would like.

Posted by: Koko3 | February 3, 2011 10:36 AM | Report abuse

I don't know what to say here. The Onion's 'article' was satire, very pointed satire at the way that anything that has Obama's name attached to it is violently opposed by the Republican Party, but it still was satire. And the purpose of satire is to criticize the existing state of affairs, in this case, the behavior of the Republican Party. Doing what may be best for the majority of the citizens of this country is NOT what is on their agenda but instead is constantly focusing their energy on someone who (personally speaking as a Republican) doesn't deserve it. Focus instead on the problems within the party first, then focus on the problems that this country still has, and maybe after that focus on the other side of the Congressional aisle.

Nah, that would mean acting responsibly...

Posted by: TalGreywolf | February 3, 2011 7:50 PM | Report abuse

How expected. They didn't even bother explaining how Republicans, with Glenn Beck's investigative experts, proved the grand conspiracy between Obama, Al Gore, Soros, ACORN, and the asteroid. Obama would be president for ever, Al Gore would be vindicated due to the massive global change to the environment, Soros would own all the underground bunkers, and ACORN would make sure only black people would get the nice living spaces (if they're Muslim).

The Republican Party has a better plan. Leeloo Multipass. Cheap, effective, and a cult classic.

Posted by: edmigper | February 4, 2011 11:48 AM | Report abuse

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