Once again, the dog that didn’t bark Skip to content

Once again, the dog that didn’t bark

When politicians get revved up about an issue, but leave out the most glaring examples of it, that tells you something.

4 min read
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One of my favorite literary passages of all time occurs in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s short story “Silver Blaze.”

Scotland Yard Detective Gregory: Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?
Sherlock Holmes: To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.
Gregory: The dog did nothing in the night-time.
Holmes: That was the curious incident.

The point is that what doesn’t happen is sometimes the most important thing.

And so it is with the latest Republican faux outrages. They make it painfully easy to debunk.

Republicans from the local to the state to the federal level cannot stop perseverating about drag queens. For people who wish to identify with the pure of heart, Republicans sure spend a lot of time thinking about other people’s sex lives. (Just sayin’.) The self-styled party of small government that allegedly defers to parents has gone so far as to file bills in various states to make it illegal for anyone younger than 18 to attend a drag show. It will now be up to kids’ state legislators, not their parents, whether they can attend even family-friendly drag shows or library drag-queen story hours.

But guess what hasn’t happened? No state legislator has proposed — or even contemplated — a ban on those under 17 getting into R-rated movies with a parent. You can see a lot more violence and sex in R-rated 50 Shades of Grey, Mother!, or The Devil’s Advocate. And they also haven’t banned little-girl beauty pageants, made famous by the late Jon-Benet Ramsey and Honey Boo-Boo. Toddlers and Tiaras was an entire reality show based on 6-year-olds made up like grown women, strutting their stuff on stage more provocatively than any drag queen. But, sure! These prohibitions on drag shows have nothing to do with anti-gay bigotry; it’s all about protecting kids from being sexualized. Sure.

Next, let’s take Senator Rand Paul, ridiculing what he says are useless government expenses. The intrepid Texas Paul debunks all the nonsense that Paul spews. But I think the most interesting thing, again, is what Paul chooses not to mention.

In a countdown of wasteful federal spending, how could you in good faith leave out the F-35 program, one of the worst failures of all time? It can’t fly in the rain — no joke. Lockheed-Martin’s F-35 Strike Fighter — the only good thing about this jet is the name — had more than 850 deficiencies, but hey! only seven of them were critical, so all good! I wonder if the F-35 still cuts off the pilot’s head if he ejects? That would be a real shame, as the helmet for the billion-dollar plane (each jet, not the whole program) costs more than a Ferrari.

You don’t have to take my word for it: The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has an entire report dedicated to how much the F-35 stinks. It’s such a terrible plane that it’s made other planes more expensive! How? Because even though each F-35 costs more than a $1 billion each, most aren’t fit to fly, so we’re pouring money into keeping and maintaining the out-of-date F-16s – money that could instead be used to buy a decent plane.

But there’s no end to this travesty of a jet program. Get a load of more from that same GAO report:

The Department of Defense (DOD) has not yet authorized the F-35 program to begin full-rate production, which is now more than 10 years later than originally planned. Full-rate production generally is the point when a program has demonstrated an acceptable level of performance and reliability and, in the case of the F-35, is ready for higher manufacturing rates. The delay in reaching this milestone stems largely from problems developing the F-35 simulator. The simulator is needed to conduct key tests prior to making a full-rate production decision. DOD is currently reassessing when it will make this decision.

In other words, the F-35 idiots can’t even make a simulator that works. Sheesh! Despite this, the Defense Department is committed to buying one-third of all planned F-35s, regardless.

How did Rand Paul forget about that in his list of boondoggles? It’s almost as if he only cares about spending aimed at helping his constituents and not his donors. Defense contractors have gifted Paul with more than $100,000 directly, not counting what he got indirectly from GOP PACs and party organizations. (Just Lockheed-Martin gave more than $1 million to Republicans in the 2021–22 election cycle alone. That doesn’t count the other defense contractors, which explains why the $850 billion defense budget — you read that right: billion — is such a sacred cow to both parties.)

Yet another example — and the one with the gravest consequences — is the MAGA obsession with using a threat to make the United States default by refusing to raise the country’s debt as a bargaining tool. Yes, these are same folks who never said boo while their messiah added $7.8 trillion to the national debt in just four years. Funny how the dog never barked during those four years! And it’s funny how none of these self-styled fiscal conservatives has pointed out that the MAGA wet dream of eliminating the IRS would add $114 billion to the deficit. Again, a very curious thing.

My final example belongs to Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene. Greene has been bleating for the past two years about the allegedly terrible conditions under which the Jan. 6 insurrectionists have been held. Conditions bad enough to inspire this bit of performance art at CPAC.

Time magazine contends the conditions in the D.C. Jail are terrible. But you know what hasn’t happened, despite the continuing caterwauling? An attempt at legislating. As a member of Congress, albeit a dubious one, Greene could have proposed a bill to improve prison conditions. But she hasn’t. Neither have any of her complaining compatriots in the GOP. Funny that.

Someone more cynical than I would think that Greene and her fellow Republicans really don’t care about prison conditions, despite Jesus’ exhortation for humane prisons. They would think that Greene just thinks that White right-wing traitors should get preferable treatment over anyone else who commits a crime. Coincidentally, that’s how fascist regimes operate: one set of rules for the oligarchs and their henchmen and another for everyone else.

If Republicans were really serious about sniffing out the sexualization of children, government boondoggles, deficit spending, and prison mistreatment, we would see the dogs bark at the big crimes instead of snoozing away.


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Ivonne Rovira

Ivonne is the research director for Save Our Schools Kentucky. She previously worked for The Miami Herald, the Miami News, and The Associated Press. (Read the rest on the Contributors page.)