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Reality-Based Guest Throws Water on Cavuto's RNC Spin

Reported by Melanie - October 5, 2005

Harry Rodriguez, Jr., the President of St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana, was a telephone guest today (October 5, 2005) on Your World. Rodriguez threw cold water not only on Neil Cavuto, but on Republicans (one and the same, I know) who are whining about spending money on rebuilding the Gulf Coast.

Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) was Cavuto's guest prior to Rodriguez. Grassley appeared in his capacity as Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. He and Cavuto wrung their hands, complaining that rebuilding will be the mother of all money pits and implying they had doubts about whether it was even worth the effort. They wondered where the money would come from, but, of course, they both agreed that raising taxes or ending the $1 billion per week folly in Iraq were off the table.

The stage being set, after a news break, Cavuto introduced Rodriguez. St. Bernard Parish is in much the same situation as the city of New Orleans in that the tax base has disappeared. The parish has no income. Rodriguez explained that, "We have no tax structure at all. We need to get some federal help just to maintain the services that we had in trying to put things back together." Rodriguez explained that cities and counties can use FEMA money to pay employee overtime, but not base salaries. Rodriguez said, "We're going to have to have a massive layoff" without federal aid.

Chyrons detailing rebuilding expenses flashed at the bottom of the screen. Cavuto, spewing Republican spin but showing an utter lack of a reality-based grasp of the tremendously complicated nature of the fix we're in, said, "There are skeptics who worry that you would just be perpetuating a bureaucracy that's not getting anything done. How do you answer that?"

Rodriguez responded with: "Not getting anything done?! When the folks up in the central United States and in Washington and that go to the pump, they're gonna see what we're getting done because when I shut my parish down, I also shut two, no, four refineries down and two big transmission companies down here -- El Paso Natural and Shell and Dynergy -- and their people maintain over 50% of the East Coast for natural gas. They're gonna find what it's like when we shut everything down."

At that point, Cavuto ended the interview.

Comment: A shout out to Harry Rodriguez, Jr.! Speak truth to Neil Cavuto, a guy who spends his life in a newsroom but who seems not to have absorbed a hint of the complexity of the world we live in. Of course, if the "news" you surround yourself with consists of RNC talking points, I don't suppose you would have much of a handle on those complexities.

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