Mark McKinnon on Obama’s Absurd Big Bird Attack

The president’s doubling down on his Big Bird attack is absurd. Mark McKinnon on why it’s time to end Sesame Street subsidies—and time for the incumbent to stop clowning around.

Baghdad. Benghazi. Big Bird. One of these things is not like the others. One of these things just doesn't belong.

Al Qaeda is rebuilding in Iraq. An American ambassador is dead. And Iran may be just months away from amassing enough weapons-grade uranium to wipe Israel off the map.

Here at home, 23 million Americans are still looking for work. The national debt is motre than $16 trillion. And while China is the largest foreign owner of our debt, around $5 trillion is owed to the nearly insolvent Social Security Trust Fund and to the federal pension system—the other Snuffleupagus in the room.

Yet, President Obama is worried about feathering Big Bird’s nest.

Mitt Romney posed a serious question. Should we continue to fund PBS for our children if it means borrowing more money from China, or if it means robbing our children of their future through massive debt?

It’s time for the eight-foot-two, able-bodied bird to grow up. Independence, responsibility, and self-reliance are important skills to learn in childhood, right alongside your ABCs and 123s.

Cutting $444 million from Sesame Street won’t mean an eviction notice for Big Bird. It won’t spell the demise of public television: about 60 percent of its funding comes from private donors and grants. And it won’t mean the end of educational programming for children. Perhaps Dora the Explorer can show PBS the way to even further commercialize the million-dollar branding bonanza that Sesame Street already is.

Cutting $444 million won’t end the debt crisis, but the thinking behind it will.

Romney posed a serious question. President Obama provided a silly answer. And Team Obama’s Sesame Street spot is going to backfire.

The debate is not about Big Bird. Or PBS. It’s about making hard choices. America gets that. And America is looking for a serious leader who is willing to make tough choices.

They saw one last week in the debate, where Romney outlined his ideas for tax reform, including a "capped basket" of deductions for personal income taxes.

They saw one when Romney endorsed the idea of increasing age eligibility and means testing entitlements.

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They saw one on Monday, when Romney delivered a foreign policy address at the Virginia Military Institute, saying: “[I]t is the responsibility of our president to use America's great power to shape history—not to lead from behind, leaving our destiny at the mercy of events.”

And they likely will be reminded again on Thursday at the vice presidential debate that Romney picked a serious reformer and thinker as his running mate.

Consumers can choose from hundreds of channels today, including dozens for kids. At a time of dwindling resources, we don't need to be subsidizing PBS. It’s time for Big Bird the mooch to compete with Dora the Explorer and Bob the Builder.

And it's time for the president to get serious.