Leave it to one of the talking heads on Fox to find a way to get another cheap shot in on Al Gore -- while also downplaying Tom Price wasting taxpayer dollars on extravagant private jet travel.
As we discussed here already, HHS Sec. Tom Price, who once railed against government waste and who wants to slash the social safety nets for everyday Americans, has already spent about $300,000 flying around the country on private jets on our dime.
So what to do if you're a Republican apologist on GOP-TV? Why, play the "both sides do it" card, of course. Which is exactly what the audience was treated to at the end of his show from Fox's Neil Cavuto this Friday, where he conflated Price's problems with Republicans' constant harping on Al Gore for (heaven forbid) ever taking private jets on his own dime while ringing the alarm bell on climate change.
So nice of Cavuto to admit here that none of them actually ever gave a hoot about how Gore got around and that it was all a big distraction to keep anyone from discussing the issue of climate change at all. Now he wants you to believe that's all the complaints about Price are, as well.
I'm not sure what other issue Cavuto believes the Democrats would like to "distract" from on Price though? His wanting to gut our social safety nets while giving the rich another big fat tax cut? His doing his best to sabotage the ACA or take health care away from millions of Americans? Sorry, Cavuto, but I'm pretty sure Democrats are more than happy to be focusing on those issues as well.
Rough transcript below:
CAVUTO: Well, Republicans, you started it. Now who is going to end it because Democrats sure are flying high over some big-name republicans flying private. The latest target is Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, cited for chartering private planes at least 24 times, and worse, doing so for reasons the folks at Politico discovered had plenty of frequent, cheaper commercial alternatives.
And all of this little more than a month after the media had a field day questioning Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and his wife's travels aboard a government charter. Republicans are now the ones flying off the handle. They're outraged over Democrats' outrage. I guess kind of like Democrats are outraged over Republicans' outrage over the same thing a while back.
Remember the stories about Al gore's big carbon footprinting or whatever that was? How dare he travel private and waste all that fuel while lecturing audiences about business laying waste to our earth? Apparently saving money and saving the earth aren't mutually exclusive and neither is the race. Democrats say they have a right to be more enraged because Republican officials, well they're doing it on our dime, the taxpayers' dime.
Al Gore did it on his. I'm not sure about this. I am sure about this. Who cares? Who really cares? It's stupid, and in the relevant scheme of things it is chump change.
Not that I condone wasting money but I’m focused on wasting like big money. I mean, how much do we spend on health and human services, over a trillion dollars a year? And we're zeroing in on thousands of dollars in private jets? Well, then it hit me.
Maybe this succession with the price over Tom Price's travels isn't about the price. It's not about the dollar. It's about distracting. Just like griping about Al Gore's private travel was a distraction from his message, a way to shoot the message and the messenger.
Nothing distracts an issue from getting addressed like a distraction that has nothing to do with the issue at hand. So Republicans, suck it up. Those who live by the silly sword die by the silly sword. You started this, and now democrats are having a field day, doubling down on this.
Because the more they can focus on Republicans' wasting money that doesn't add up to much, the more they can prevent cutting sacred Washington programs whose budgets add up to so much more. After all who is going to listen to an HHS Secretary urging cost efficiency as he dashes a round the country flying private?
I suspect about the same number who will stop taking Al Gore seriously as he bemoans a polluted world flying private. That's the thing about distractions, they work for both parties and they prevent anything getting done by either party.
Trust me, Republicans weren't concerned about how Al Gore got around, just as long as he never got around to addressing his signature issue. Just like I suspect Democrats aren't really bothered how Trump cabinet secretaries get around, just as long as those cabinet officials never get around to fulfilling their mission on any issue.
It's all the same. They are all the same... more intent on demagoguing an issue than solving an issue. It's like Democrats brand Republicans heartless for trying to simply slow the growth of entitlements and Republicans call Democrats spend thrifts for not trying to well, slow the growth of anything.
So Republicans are throwing granny off a cliff and Democrats pushing us all off the fiscal cliff. You know, sometimes, I don't know who's worse.
I do know they're both hypocrites. Democrats fare suddenly feigning concern for debt that didn't matter when they were running things. Or Republicans for doing little if anything on the same debt, now that they're running things.
Talk is cheap and so is manufactured outrage, because this isn't about who's flying private, it's about never getting around to doing the important things that matter to the public. To us. To all of us. The folks who pay the bills.