Mitt Romney threw Big Bird under the bus in the first presidential debate, as he vowed to cut funds from PBS and the big yellow guy in favor of other federal programs. While some uber-conservatives might like the sound of that as a way of fiscal prioritizing, Romney is hoping that we voters will forget that the vast majority of funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and PBS doesn’t come from the federal government — close to 80 percent comes from grants and donations from us!
So how much money are we talking about? Kelly Phillips Erb writes at Forbes that “in 2015, Congress has budgeted $445 million for CPB.” That sounds like a lot of money. It is a lot of money. But in terms of the total federal budget, that’s only 1/100th of a 1%. Take that out and you don’t even make a tiny scratch in the deficit. But you do take away an important source of learning for many children around the country.
While many pundits (not me, mind you!) are claiming that Mitt Romney won the first debate over President Obama because he seemed more confident, the words that came out of his mouth were, well, not exactly the truth (sometimes known as lies). The PBS/Big Bird smack-down was just one of them as Romney tried, yet again, to recreate himself for a national audience.
But at some point, a candidate has to stop the recreation and settle on being one thing. At least that’s the advice Big Bird would give him, because Big Bird is a “giver,” even though Romney and his cohorts would argue that he’s a “taker” (aka “moocher” in conservative parlance). He’d tell the Republican candidate to start owning who you are:
I’m going to follow Big Bird’s lead and give Romney one other piece of advice — do NOT let your grand-kids find out that you threw Big Bird under the bus. The odds of you surviving 18 angry grandchildren at the next Romney family gathering at your mansion on the lake are slim to none.
I’m just glad Big Bird missed the whole thing!