One of the more memorable moments from Wednesday’s debate came when Governor Romney doubled down on his pledge to cut federal grants to PBS. Bethany has already spoken to the notion that Romney doesn’t really want to kill Big Bird. And I certainly agree with Bethany that Sesame Street is a model program, one which brings in profit which allows PBS to fund other programs. That’s the way PBS should work. Nevertheless, Paula Kerger, the CEO of PBS, has already pushed back on Romney’s comments. “With the enormous problems facing our country, the fact that we are the focus is just unbelievable to me,” Kerger told CNN. “This is not about the budget, it has to be about politics.”
Actually, it is about the budget and about waste. Certainly, I grew up watching Big Bird. And, when I was 5, I also enjoyed the Electric Company, though when I see clips now, 35 years later on Hulu.com, I wonder what the heck I was thinking.
It’s the line from the election that liberals are clinging to–it’s the only one they can. Romney will kill Big Bird and destroy public television, robbing our children of the joy of Sesame Street. The world will become a sad, dejected place without Big Bird and his posse if Mitt Romney is elected president of the United States. Who could possibly want that? Obama is already hitting the stump with this message, and liberals have picked up the fight for Big Bird.
The actual Romney quote from the debate reads as follows:
I’m sorry, Jim, I’m going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I’m going to stop other things. I like PBS, I love Big Bird. Actually like you, too. But I’m not going to — I’m not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for. That’s number one.
Does this mean Mitt Romney wants to kill Big Bird? Will Big Bird and his friends disappear off the airwaves? No, on both counts.