Dwight Shrute as a tea bagger...who knew? So I was in a meeting this week for a school fundraiser. As we were wrapping up, this particular gentleman, who had distinguished himself throughout the meeting as being a little Shrute-esque and being
October 17, 2010

Dwight Shrute as a tea bagger...who knew?

So I was in a meeting this week for a school fundraiser. As we were wrapping up, this particular gentleman, who had distinguished himself throughout the meeting as being a little Shrute-esque and being an obstacle to getting things resolved and moving forward, made this not-quite-under-his-breath crack about 'nanny states' and 'socialists'. Now, I'm not one looking for a fight, but at the same time, I'm not going to back down at all either. I turned to the woman sitting next to me (and just loud enough to be heard) started waxing rhapsodic about my brilliant and beautiful niece, who is studying pediatric cardiology in France right now. For free. Because education is paid for. Because they live in 'socialist democracy.' And this week, the French turned out in massive numbers to protest Sarkosy's plan to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62. An estimated one in 20 French turned out, including students like my niece, who will not qualify for her pension for forty years. And why were/are they protesting? Because of the threat to the social safety nets that the conservative Sarkosy poses. If they raise it now to 62, what will it be for these students in forty years? How much harder did Sarkosy make it for both the seniors and students to compete for a finite number of jobs?

As I told my colleague, "Think about that...an informed, educated population arguing for more government safety nets! You know, my brother and sister in law didn't have to do a single fundraiser for their daughter's education, everything was paid for and the standards are so impressive--my niece can speak three languages fluently, was put on an educational track for pre-med back in high school and neither my in-laws or my niece will be saddled with a crippling debt or student loans." Other parents volunteered their own impressions of education in other countries, and how we in the US are struggling to stay afloat, much less be competitive. I could see the guy getting tense, so I continued, "You know, I wish all these tea party types with their moronic "Get government out of my Medicare" signs could just travel and see how ridiculous they are to complain about a system where people spend less money overall and get more out of their government and a higher quality of life. Instead, they're fighting to keep millionaires and billionaires wealthy at their expense. Hard to take them seriously when they're such boneheads, isn't it?" At this point, the guy was beet red. But he doesn't say anything; he just made a beeline for the exit and is one of the first people out the door, and several of the other moms were smiling at me.

Did we reach through all the denseness of his ignorance? I doubt it, but it felt good to add a little bit of needling at the cognitive dissonance. Now if only we could hope for the same this morning on the news shows. Delaware Senate rivals Christine "I'm not going to do national television" O'Donnell and Chris Coons will be appearing on This Week and Colorado Senate rivals Michael Bennet and Ken Buck will be on Meet the Press. The always heinous Liz Cheney will be spinning her dissonance on Face the Nation and Carly Fiorina, the failed CEO claiming executive experience against Barbara Boxer, will be on Fox News Sunday. Oh, if I only had a few moments to lay some truth on them... they'd be moving to "Communist Sweden" in a hurry.

ABC's "This Week" - The Delaware Senate nominees, Democrat Chris Coons and Republican Christine O'Donnell; California first lady Maria Shriver.

CBS' "Face the Nation" - Former Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean; Republican strategist Liz Cheney; Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

NBC's "Meet the Press" - Presidential press secretary Robert Gibbs; the Colorado Senate nominees, Democrat Michael Bennet and Republican Ken Buck.

NBC's "The Chris Matthews Show" - Panel: Andrea Mitchell, Bob Woodward, David Brooks, Helene Cooper. Topics: Is Obama's National Security Team at War? What's the Evidence Hillary Clinton Might Bump Joe Biden? Are Voters Set to Elect Some Extremists to the Senate?

CNN's "State of the Union" - White House senior adviser David Axelrod.

CNN's "Fareed Zakaria GPS" - An exclusive interview with the newest Nobel laureate. MIT professor Peter Diamond was part of a trio that won the award in economics for their work on unemployment -- certainly a hot topic these days. And just recently, Diamond was nominated by President Obama to the Federal Reserve. But the nomination was blocked. Diamond on HIS job problem...and the nation's.

"Fox News Sunday" - Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.; Carly Fiorina, Republican Senate nominee in California.

So what's catching your eye this morning?

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