The Republican Party does not exist.

Oh, sure, there are still Republicans running around causing chaos and trying to steal elections. But as an organization with actual governance principles or policy ideas, they're deader than the dodo. Witness this perfect display yesterday by West Virginia Senator Shelley Moore Capito as she discussed the GOP's infrastructure "plan" on CNBC's "Squawk Box."

"What I'd like to do is get back to what I consider the regular definition of infrastructure in terms of job creation," Capito told host Joe Kernan. "So that's roads, bridges, ports, airports, including broadband into that, water infrastructure. And we've already made, sort of, our first step there in our bipartisan way through our committee. We have a bill on water and wastewater structure; it's about $30 billion dollars over five years and it works on some of the things that are aspirational in President Biden's plan. So I think the best way for us to do this is hit the sweet spot of where we agree, and I think we can agree on a lot of the measures moving forward. How much, I would say, probably into the $600 or $800 billion range, but we haven't put all that together yet."

First of all, $30 billion dollars over five years to fix our nation's water infrastructure is a bloody joke. The EPA says it will take $384.2 billion spread out over 20 years, and that price tag isn't going to get any lower by kicking the can down the road. And, oh, bee-tee-dubs, clean drinking water isn't "aspirational," it's kind of necessary to sustain all human life.


Second, I don't want to hear a single damn word about Democrats stretching the meaning of the word "infrastructure" to include progressive priorities. We just lived through four years where the president labeled everything an "EMERGENCY" and went on to do exactly as he pleased without the trouble of passing legislation. He did it with the Muslim ban, he did it with steel tariffs, he did it with border wall funding, and he did it with refugee policy to separate children from their parents, even seizing on the pandemic as a reason to exacerbate the misery, all the while pretending that public health orders for Americans were a gross overreaction. JFC, he did it with congressionally allocated defense funds for Ukraine, and the GOP — including Shelley Moore Capito! — said that was totally kosher.

So what we're not gonna do is engage in a semantic discussion about "what is infrastructure" with people who don't give a shit about the rules when they're in power.

Although Capito did go on to describe "school building" as "not infrastructure" — which shows you just how seriously she takes her own position.

But wait, there's more! Because of course as soon as Capito tossed out that $600-800 billion number, she started getting fragged by her own side, who were thinking the appropriate number is more like eight bucks, and maybe they'll throw in a bag of dog crap if you really press them.

So when the Huffington Post's Igor Bobic circled back to ask Capito about it, she admitted that she was just spitballing. Because LOL, why would the ranking member of the Environment and Public Works Committee have a real "plan" for public works? She'll just make some numbers up, because Republicans aren't trying to pass any actual legislation. They're just going to gum up the works for four years and scream about socialist Democrats on TV every chance they get.

These are not serious people, and we do not need to seriously engage with them.

Duly chastened, Capito returned to the microphone later to mumble some nonsense about a "conceptual Republican bill."

"We're working on that now, we haven't made consensus on that, but a conceptual document probably," she said, while noting that raising the corporate tax rate was a "non-negotiable red line," because "I voted for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. It had the desired effect of bringing capital back into this country, no corporate inversions, higher wages, lower unemployment, [and] better diversity in our work force."

Which is complete horseshit, particularly since the plan relied on magic math promising that cutting corporate taxes would somehow increase revenue. Spoiler Alert: It didn't. And, not for nothing, but Republicans were entirely unconcerned with sacred congressional bipartisanship when they rammed that particular monstrosity through via reconciliation, so Senator Capito can GTFO four years later when the shoe is on the other foot.

Meanwhile, Capito's fellow West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin wasn't having it.

"We're going to do whatever it takes. If it takes $4 trillion, I'd do $4 trillion, but we have to pay for it," he told reporters yesterday. (Memo to everyone talking shit about Joe Manchin ...)

In summary and in conclusion, this is a bill that Americans want, and we can negotiate with the GOP for a little while, but only a little while. As Senator Bernie Sanders told Huffington Post, "If Republicans are serious, I'd love to hear their ideas. If they're not, we'll have to move along."

[Huffington Post / NBC]

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Liz Dye

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.

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