03/06/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

House GOP Releases Ridiculous List Defending Stimulus Opposition

So, House Republicans, they just hates themselves some stimulus package! And they've made it clear with their unanimity of opposition and the holy snit-fit they've thrown over all the SOCIALISM, which is best summed up in Minority Leader John Boehner's Gossip Girlian pronouncement, "Oh...mah...gawd." Which is a candidate for my new ringtone, by the way!

This opposition was playing very well while it was just a generalized blob of negation. Newly-minted RNC Chairman Michael Steele was all about handing down the attaboys from on high! But since then, the bill has gone to the more amenable Senate, and so Congressional Republicans have decided to take out pen and paper and write up a list of all the things they find objectionable. That list is available here. It has thirty-two items on it. Thirty-two sure is a big number for a list, isn't it? Allow Steve Benen to bust out the elementary-school mathematics:

Now, putting aside the merit of the provisions, I went ahead and did some back-of-the-envelope math, adding up the grand total of all of the measures in question. I came up with a total of roughly $18.7 billion.


While $18.7 billion is a serious chunk of change, it's also just 2% of the $884.5 billion package under consideration in the Senate.

As Benen notes, "After screaming 'pork!' and 'waste!' non-stop for weeks, these guys really should have been able to come up with more than just 2% of the bill." True! But in the eventuality of this bill's passage, its opponents are nevertheless going to want to take credit for whatever government largess flows into their district. And when somebody -- like me, for instance -- points out that they are running for re-election based on a bill they stridently opposed, they'll want to be able to point to a piece of paper and say, "No, that wasn't on our MAGICAL LIST, with all the BIG NUMBERS."

(Note: Hilariously, the Congressional GOP have inverted Samuelson's Fallacy of Large Numbers. Rather than a pile of unacceptable items that are collectively deemed acceptable, the GOP, in giving approval to 98% of the bill, have taken a pile of items deemed acceptable and demanded the razing of the whole kit and kaboodle. These guys are thus breaking new ground in fallacies.)

Anyway, ordinarily we'd say that writing all this down and exposing their own disingenuousness would be the Congressional GOP's fatal mistake! But no worries, the media will continue to whine about food stamps, and STD prevention, and how it's SOCIALISM, never pointing out that the Congressional opposition to the package is all over a dime's worth of difference.