Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Saturday, February 01, 2014

Friction-Free Matron of the Year

GOP white coats are thisclose to getting it right. Previous prototypes like Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann blew up after leaving the launching pad, but Cathy McMorris Rodgers is in orbit as their new Matron of the Year, full of empty catch phrases with no content whatsoever but friction-free.

Only SNL or the Daily Show would be mean enough to parody a nice farm girl, first in her family to attend college, who worked at a fruit stand and McDonald’s in her teens but has been, like fellow Congressman Paul Ryan, only on the government payroll since graduating.

Her constituents, as Timothy Egan points out in the New York Times, had an “unemployment rate 30 percent above the national average last year. One in six people live below the poverty level. One in five is on food stamps. And the leading employer is government, providing 3,023 of the 9,580 nonfarm payroll jobs last year.”

Yet in Rep. Rodgers’ cozy view, government is the enemy, as she opposes Obamacare, raising the minimum wage and extending jobless benefits in a Republican “year of real action--by empowering people--not making their lives harder.”

How? The Matron of the Year sayeth not, but statistics show her constituents signing up for that dreaded health coverage at a brisk rate in a state that, before her emergence, had raised the minimum wage to the highest in the country at $9.32 an hour (close to the $10.10 Democrats are seeking nationally) and has since shown job growth above the national average.

But with her wholesome good looks and soporific manner, this year’s GOP Matron of the Year has no rough edges like Sarah Palin, who is still taking cheap shots at Bush I’s token woman Peggy Noonan for being too slow to join Tea Party loudmouths in calling this week’s SOTU "a spectacle of delusion and self-congratulation."

If Republicans want to perfect their robotic Matron of the Year and keep raising tons of money before the next election cycle, they will have to persuade Palin to stand behind a poster of Rodgers and confine herself to her successor’s smiling platitudes.

Or go back to the GOP lab for attitude retooling.

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