We Need to Ask More ’Stupid Questions’.
I was reminded yesterday of a wonderful line from an old Peanuts comic strip. It was something Charlie Brown probably said, commenting on a particularly outrageous remark from Lucy:
“If you can’t be right, be wrong at the top of your voice.”
John Boehner (R-Ohio), the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, took a page from that book yesterday when a reporter started to ask him a question about the House Appropriations Committee cutting $260-some million from Amtrak’s budget less than a day after the tragic accident in Philadelphia.
“Are you really going to ask such a stupid question?” snapped Boehner. “Obviously it’s not about funding,” he continued. “The train was going twice the speed limit.”
Well, frankly, Mr. Speaker, it’s about time the national media started asking questions about the consequences of your party’s refusal to adequately fund projects and programs affecting the health and safety of the general public.
The question was absolutely legitimate because it’s been well established that a number of infrastructure improvements have been delayed because of a lack of federal funding. And it’s equally true that this was exactly the kind of accident that the Positive Train Control system could have prevented. PTC would know where the train was and what the speed limit is at that exact spot, and it would have automatically applied the brakes when the engineer failed to do so on his own.
And so, Mr. Speaker, it was NOT a stupid question. On the contrary, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has confirmed that a lack of funding has delayed the implementation of the system that would have prevented this accident.
But there is an even bigger issue here, Mr. Speaker. You were asked that question because it’s what a large chunk of the American people want to know. You shouldn’t have to be reminded that we’re the ones who pay your salary. You work for us so—please—treat our representatives in the media with a little respect.
Now answer the goddam question!