In the middle of making his case of opposition toward House Republicans' "mean-spirited" H.R. 1 budget bill on the Senate floor Tuesday, Majority Leader Harry Reid took a moment to defend the National Endowment of the Humanities, a federal program he says supports an annual cowboy poetry festival in his home state of Nevada. With a $14 trillion debt crisis looming, Reid pleads for his colleagues to save the cowboy poetry:
“The mean-spirited bill, H.R. 1 … eliminates the National Endowment of the Humanities, National Endowment of the Arts,” said Reid. “These programs create jobs. The National Endowment of the Humanities is the reason we have in northern Nevada every January a cowboy poetry festival. Had that program not been around, the tens of thousands of people who come there every year would not exist.” (emphasis mine)
So without federal funding, they will what... die? Vanish without a trace...?
Additionally, who knew it was the federal government's role to support local poets? And, better yet, who knew Republicans were seemingly so anti-poetry AND anti-cowboy?
Not so, announced Sen. Jim DeMint during a floor speech later on Tuesday. "Now, I love poetry and cowboys as much as anyone else. But we're looking at bankrupting our nation," DeMint said.
In response, Mark Steyn offered his own brand of cowboy poetry at NRO:
An ol’ cowpoke went ridin’ out one dark and windy day
Upon a ridge he rested as he went along his way
When all at once he spied a posse from the GOP
A-hangin’ from that ol’ mesquite his fed’ral subsidy
His pen was still a-fire and he knew how to spell “git”
But an ol’ paint can’t outride a trillion-dollar deficit
If only Harry Reid can head ’em off at that there pass
‘Cuz he hasn’t finished paying off creative-writing class
Cow Poets On The Dole
Cow Poets On The Dole…
For the record, the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering Reid refers to takes place in Elko, Nev. The next annual meeting promises a "week-long celebration of life in the rural West, featuring the contemporary and traditional arts of western ranching culture." According to the event website, thousands are expected to attend.